Veteran NBA ref Joey Crawford to retire | Inquirer Sports

Veteran NBA ref Joey Crawford to retire

/ 12:28 PM January 03, 2016

NBA official Joey Crawford makes a call during an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Los Angeles. AP

NBA official Joey Crawford makes a call during an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Los Angeles. AP

Joey Crawford, longtime NBA referee, is finally hanging up his whistle.

Crawford has expressed his desire to retire at the end of the season, ending a storied 39-year career in the league.

In a report on his hometown paper Delaware County Daily Times, the veteran official said, “I’m done.”

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“There’s nothing to be sorry about. You know what happens? It’s not that you lose your passion. I have that. That’s insanity. But it just comes to the point where you say, ‘I don’t want to make a fool out of myself.’ And it’s been so good that I want to go out on a high note. I don’t want to go out on a low note. I want to be in the NBA Finals, and I don’t want to be reffing just for the sake of reffing,” he continued.

Crawford has served 313 NBA playoff games and 50 Finals duels, more than any other active official in the league.

“I have been very, very lucky,” he said. “The thing that bothers me the most is that we have had a Crawford in pro sports since the ’50s. My father’s first year in the big leagues was ’56, I was at Jerry’s last game in Baltimore in 2010 and I was holding back tears, thinking, ‘This is the last time a Crawford is going to be working a major league game.’ It was weird.”

The 64-year-old has a reputation of being a temperamental game official, strictly enforcing the rules, and more often than not, firing technical fouls without warning.

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One of Crawford’s most memorable moment came in 2007 when he ejected San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench in a game against the Dallas Mavericks. Crawford was suspended for the remainder of the 2006-07 season and the playoffs as a result of the incident.

The Delaware native admits that he regretted the incident, and said, “It made me a better ref. Thank God that David Stern brought me back. But I learned a lot from it.”

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Crawford is currently recovering from a nagging knee surgery and is eyeing a return in March to officiate for the rest of the season before finally calling it a career.

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TAGS: Basketball, Joey Crawford, NBA, Referee, San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan

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