JEFF FOSTER: “IF THEY NEED A VILLAIN, IT LOOKS LIKE I’M THEIR GUY”
BY ARON PHILLIPS
No one grows up wanting to be the next Jeff Foster. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Kids grow up wanting to play at Duke or North Carolina and become the next Kobe Bryant or LeBron James; not attend Southwest Texas State and average five points per game for their career. All-Star Games, MVP awards, endorsement deals, these are what kids aspire towards. You know, the good life. But at 34 years old, Foster lives that too. And 12 seasons and almost $50 million later, he’s leaving his mark on another playoff series.
“It’d be kind of cool if I got booed,” Foster said, laughing. “If they need a villain, it looks like I’m their guy.
The Bulls have great fans. It should be a great game.”
But why boo Foster, a guy who’s averaging under 19 minutes per game in the Pacers’ first round series with the Bulls? In Game 1, he fouled Derrick Rose. Hard.
Then in Game 3, he fouled Rose and Luol Deng – both of which were upgraded to flagrant 1 fouls by the NBA after the game.
“I thought they were good, clean playoff fouls,” Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel said. “That’s all we talk about with our guys, is that we want to protect our basket. We don’t want flagrants. We’re trying to protect our basket and protect it in a physical manner.”
And if the Pacers have any shot of winning this series, they’re going to need Foster to do just that. But luckily, he’s been here before – seven times to be exact. Beginning as a rookie on Indiana’s 1999-00 team that went to the NBA Finals, this postseason marks the seventh time that Foster has played in the playoffs with the Pacers. So you might as well call him Michael Myers, because he’s turned the role of the villain into a career.