Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has been accused of sexual harassment by a former assistant on the team, after which the NBA sent an investigation to review all documentation and evidence. The impact on Chris Paul’s tenure with Phoenix may come as his first season comes to a close.
The “who does chris paul play for” is a question that has been asked many times during the Robert Sarver probe. Chris Paul will be playing his first season with the Phoenix Suns and he will be as important to them as he was in his last season with the LA Clippers.
Last summer, Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns to their first NBA Finals in 28 years. However, what he accomplishes in the following weeks will determine his franchise legacy. The NBA is looking into claims of impropriety leveled against majority governor Robert Sarver. After a 0–3 start, the Suns have won three consecutive games, including a 123–111 comeback win against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 4.
Whether they want to be or not, Phoenix players will be caught up in the wave of national scrutiny that has already descended on the team as a result of Sarver’s alleged actions during his 17-year reign as owner. However, one player on the Suns’ roster has already navigated these waters. Paul will be responsible for guiding his comrades through the storm.
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During the 2014 Donald Sterling affair, Chris Paul was a key role.
In the aftermath of taped discussions disclosing his use of racial language to the media, the NBA banned former Los Angeles Clippers governor Donald Sterling for life in 2014.
Following the claims, Clippers players wore their warmup jerseys inside out during their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. Paul told ESPN in July 2014 that if Sterling was still in charge of the team when the 2014–15 season began, he was contemplating sitting out.
That was never the case. A lawsuit was filed to prevent former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer from buying the Clippers for $2 billion, but the deal went through, and Sterling was fired from the team. In 2015, the group debuted a new logo and commenced construction on a new arena in Inglewood at the former Forum site earlier this year.
Doc Rivers, the former Clippers coach, had considering resigning if Sterling had not been fired.
Given that the charges against Sarver include both racist and sexist remarks and conduct, similarities are already being made between Sterling’s fate in 2014 and what happens to the majority stakeholder of the Phoenix Suns.
In the Phoenix Suns locker room, Chris Paul is taking the lead.
The Phoenix Suns will benefit from Chris Paul’s (3) experience during the Donald Sterling incident as the NBA investigates majority owner Robert Sarver. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Chris Paul, for one, isn’t making any quick comparisons. According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, his emphasis following the victory against the Rockets was on the future:
“I believe that every scenario is unique. During the time when everything occurred, we coped with it. We’re not indifferent to anything that was said or whatever, but we don’t know all the circumstances, as [Devin Booker] mentioned. So the NBA will do its investigation, and all of us on our team will continue to play and perform our jobs throughout that time.”
The most important thing, he continued, is not to get caught up in the debate.
“In my time in the league, I’ve been through a couple situations,” Paul remarked. “It’s being looked at by the powers that be.” They do their investigations, but I believe the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that we, as a team, must communicate. It’s not about what other people are saying, or what other people are urging you to do, or what you should do. It’s about how we feel as a team, as a unit, as coaching staff, and as a company.”
Whether they want to be or not, the Phoenix Suns will be the focus of attention.
The Phoenix Suns will be in the limelight due to the explosive nature of the claims levied in ESPN’s Baxter Holmes’ story published Thursday. It has nothing to do with the outcome of a basketball game.
During his first two seasons in Phoenix, coach Monty Williams received high praise for his efforts. The Suns’ journey to the Finals last year was their first since 2010. Since 1993, they hadn’t competed for a title.
His task will be to maintain his team’s concentration on the task at hand. Everyone wants to speak about Sarver and the accusations leveled against him. The squad, according to Booker, is in the finest possible hands.
“He’s the greatest at it,” Booker said of handling situations, maintaining control of the room, and keeping everybody focused on the task at hand. “He’s done the same thing with our team.” We’ve discussed it as a group. Everything he says has an effect on you. We’ll remain by his side. We’ll continue to work hard for him and win basketball games.”
Given the current media’s proclivity for drama, it may not be that straightforward. Paul’s 17-year experience will be crucial in this situation. Paul, who is 36 years old, may not have seen everything throughout his NBA career, but he has seen a lot.
Chris Paul will be tasked with keeping the Suns’ players and coaches focused on the task at hand. If the Phoenix Suns are to emerge as a possible championship challenger, his knowledge in the muddy seas of racism claims against a team’s administration will be important.
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