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What Should the NBA Do About Scott Foster and Chris Paul?

Nov 22, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Chris Paul (3) argues with NBA referee Scott Foster after getting a technical foul against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If Chris Paul thought he only had to worry about facing his former team Wednesday night, he was wrong. In addition to the Phoenix Suns, the veteran guard also went toe-to-toe with his biggest rival: NBA referee Scott Foster.

Late in the second quarter, Paul fouled Kevin Durant and made his disagreement known to Foster. The 29-year veteran ref called two quick techs on Paul, giving CP3 his seventh career ejection.

It’s the latest episode in the saga between Paul and Foster, and leads many to wonder when—or even if—the madness will end.

What Should the NBA Do About Scott Foster and Chris Paul?


Paul’s first public criticism of Foster came during the 2018 playoffs when he was with the Houston Rockets, telling reporters, “I got a tech tonight. Scott Foster at his finest.” The second incident came during Paul’s tenure with the OKC Thunder, referring to a costly delay of game call by Foster in 2020:

The 2021 playoffs only added fuel to the fire, as a loss to the Lakers in game 3 of the first round marked Paul’s 11th postseason loss officiated by Foster. As of now, Paul holds a 3-17 postseason record with Foster on the sidelines.

Paul’s comments over last night’s ejection confirmed what everyone else knew: it’s personal between him and Foster. The veteran guard briefly explained why him and Foster have clashed over the years:

What the NBA Should Do About Scott Foster vs. Chris Paul

It’s clear that the league is aware of Paul’s frustrations with Scott Foster. So, why do they keep allowing him to officiate CP3’s games, and what actions can they take moving forward?

Adam Silver should formally investigate the situation surrounding Paul and Foster to stop letting personal bias infiltrate the professionalism of the game. It’s issues like this that contribute to the negative perception of the league’s referees.

This young season has already seen some questionable actions by NBA refs. The Lakers had protested missed calls against LeBron James, and Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins used his postgame presser to rant about officiating. Players, coaches and fans not only have to worry about rough calls, but also the referees behind them.

While the situation between Paul and Foster continues to unfold, the NBA must examine the key issue at hand instead of just sweeping it under the rug. An investigation into Foster’s conduct (coupled with potential punishments) is the only way that the saga can be put to bed. The Paul-Foster beef is arguably worse than retired referee Eric Lewis’s burner account, and it’s a key factor into why everyone is upset with the current state of NBA officiating.

As for Foster, this ejection is the latest example as to why he shouldn’t be officiating games that Paul plays in. Among the NBA’s requirements for a crew chief are, “High-level play calling, partnering skills, and tools for handling any game situation, including interpersonal communication.” Those traits weren’t on display Wednesday night. Whether they’ll come around in the next CP3 vs. Scott Foster card remains to be seen.


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