After Houston Rockets stars James Harden and Chris Paul fouled out in Thursday’s 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA official with a long, controversial history was in their crosshairs.
That official: Scott Foster, a Maryland native and University of Maryland graduate.
Harden had some harsh words for Foster when speaking with the media after the game.
“Scott Foster … I never really talk about officiating, but he’s just rude and arrogant,” Harden said.
Harden added that he felt it was “for sure” personal for Foster and that he “shouldn’t be allowed to officiate our games anymore.”
Paul also vented to reporters Thursday night, expressing exasperation when asked about his relationship with Foster.
“I don’t know what else to do — I’ve met with the league with him before. I don’t know what else to do,” Paul said.
This isn’t the first time Foster has been in the news for his work performance.
In January 2016, the Los Angeles Times conducted an anonymous survey of "nearly three dozen" NBA players, head coaches and assistant coaches, who were asked to name the league's three worst referees.
The runaway winner, with 10 more votes than the runner-up: Foster.
"You can't talk to him. He's never wrong," one player said of Foster. "I like refs where they say, 'You know what, I made a mistake. I saw it at halftime. You were right.' But Scott Foster thinks he never makes a mistake. The players see the stats of how he is on the road. He always helps the road team out. He loves to stick it to teams."
On May 9, 2016, Foster blew a call during Game 4 of the Golden State Warriors-Portland Trail Blazers Western Conference semifinals. Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, the aggrieved party, ran back on defense and showed off his pottymouth.
The internet took the side of the guy who had been clobbered on the side of the head and, oh, yeah, never had been ejected in his 11-year career.
Foster is a Silver Spring native, attended Magruder High in Montgomery County and graduated from Maryland in 1993. He worked state high school games, in the Southern and Big South conferences and in the Continental Basketball Association before moving up to the NBA.
His worst-in-the-league moniker is actually better than his last, which was "associate of Tim Donaghy's." Foster was scrutinized for the 304 phone calls he exchanged with the disgraced former official between December 2006 and April 2007, when Donaghy admitted to having shared inside information with two known gamblers.
Foster was cleared in separate investigations by the FBI and an NBA-hired independent investigator, which has perhaps emboldened his officiating.
"He's going to manage everything," Donaghy told The Oregonian's John Canzano before Monday night's game. "If you see a team that has four team fouls and a team that doesn't have any, you're going to see ... Scott Foster go up the floor and grab a hand-check or impede, a real cheap foul just to get that personal foul up on the board. ... He'll go into the locker room at halftime and look at a stat sheet and look at the free throws. If the free throws are off a little bit he's going to come out in the third quarter and make sure that team that doesn't have as many free throws gets a couple of cheap ones to try and even things out and see that everyone gets a fair shake."
Good thing he never refereed in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Gary Williams would have loved him.
(H/T The Washington Post)