Humanity has finally discovered an interesting use case for morning sports TV: Whenever a star player is abruptly ejected from the postseason, the biggest hater in his workplace should be invited to slander him publicly.
The day after the Phoenix Suns were humiliated by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7, Patrick Beverley woke up early and ornery to run the ESPN morning gauntlet. (By his own account, Beverley has resented Paul and his “slick shit” since high school.) Across today’s episodes of Get Up and First Take, the Minnesota Timberwolves guard called for Chris Paul’s benching; referred to Paul as a “cone” on defense; said he that he goes to sleep early the night before guarding Steph Curry, but indulges in steak and wine the night before playing against Paul and the Suns; claimed that his fellow players, like former Clippers teammate Paul George, aren’t scared of Phoenix and actively want to match up against them; and called on Paul to receive “the Ben Simmons slander.”
Beverley correctly described the infuriating way that Paul works the officials. He ambitiously argued that Paul’s role as president of the players’ union plays a role in his preferential ref treatment. He talked so much shit that at times, co-host Stephen A. Smith could only look on in hushed awe. It was virtuosic. Even Beverley’s comic timing was a little better than I expected.
ESPN can and will harvest days, if not weeks, of narrative and meta-narrative from Beverley’s time on set. This afternoon, retired player Matt Barnes was already pushing forward the network’s own news cycle by referencing “the disrespect I saw from Pat Beverley earlier today.” The viewer got to learn a little about how NBA players (or at least one colossally annoying NBA player) view other NBA players (or at least one colossally annoying NBA player). Everyone wins!