Dick Bavetta Rumors
Kentucky coach John Calipari and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo are among the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2015 class. The Hall of Fame announced its 2015 nominees Saturday. The Class of 2015 will be announced April 6. Calipari and Mutombo are joined by longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta, five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, three-time All-Star Kevin Johnson, three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, seven-time All-Star Jo Jo White, four-time All-Star Spencer Haywood, former NBA coach Bill Fitch and high school coaches Robert Hughes and Leta Andrews as finalists.
Take Sloan off the list of people wanting Bavetta indicted. “I think everybody has a chance of missing calls; nobody bats a thousand in this league, in coaching as well. But I think his interest was in doing the best he could for the league and everyone involved,” Sloan said. “I never felt anything malicious about the calls. After the game was over and you see what’s going on, they do a pretty darn good job.”
After 39 years as an NBA referee, Bavetta announced this week he’ll be retiring at age 74. Jazz fans will need to find someone else to upbraid. But they’ll never forget him. He’s the referee that waved off Jazz guard Howard Eisley’s 3-point basket in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against Chicago, ruling it was after the shot clock had expired. He later allowed Bulls’ guard Ron Harper’s 2-point basket to count, though that time the shot clock had expired in the fourth quarter of a tie game. Bavetta was also on the court when Michael Jordan bumped Bryon Russell before scoring the game-winning basket. Conspiracy wonks have been analyzing it ever since. So naturally you would think Jerry Sloan would be doing cartwheels. His officiating nemesis is history. “I thought he was a good ref,” the former Jazz coach said this week. “Anybody who can stay with something that long has to be good at what they do; those guys are hard to come by. He stood the test of time; it’s not an easy job.”
The catcalls were never personal to Bavetta, though Jazz fans wanted them to be. Sloan said he didn’t think Bavetta’s calls/no-calls in 1998 were driven by an agenda and he doesn’t dwell on it. “I think you’ve got to put it behind you and go about your business. To be so concerned about something like that — you have no control over it whatsoever — so you just have to hope your team gets the benefit of the doubt,” Sloan said.
What he will likely miss most is being one of the NBA’s de facto ambassadors. Bavetta prided himself on being personable; after all, he was easily recognizable by NBA fans. So when they would stop him to chat, Bavetta never minded posing for a quick photo or telling a brief story. “I was never the star of the show,” Bavetta said. “The stars were the players. But you never know what lives you’ll be able to touch.”
The rigors of travel especially this past winter, holidays spent separated from family, nights away from his wife Paulette and their 460-acre ranch in Ocala, Florida, it all took a toll on the 74-year-old Bavetta. “I’m healthy,” Bavetta said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I feel at peace with making the decision. I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to be part of the NBA family for 39 years. They’ve provided a great livelihood for me and my family. And moving forward, it will always be part of my DNA. For so long, ‘I’m Dick Bavetta, an NBA referee’ has just come out. Now it’s time for ‘I’m Dick Bavetta, former NBA referee.'”
The most amazing aspect, along with his admirable fitness: Dick did not miss a single assignment since he started in 1975, officiating a record 2,635 consecutive regular-season games. The Streak defies all luck, logic and on-time arrivals, considering the city-hopping required in a winter sport. “The Big Guy Upstairs had been looking down on me,” Bavetta chuckled. “You look up ‘anomaly’ in the dictionary and that’s what I am. I had some close calls.”
As he and his wife, Paulette, now drive through the desolate back roads of Central Florida, he couldn’t be more removed from his work as a calming legislator of tall men prone to emotional outbursts. He will spend time embracing the quiet at Old Melody, listening to his collection of classic “Doo-Wop” hits on one of his three jukeboxes. Bavetta retired recently at 74, ending one of the most enduring, fascinating and fruitful careers in the NBA.
19 Aug 14
During last night’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Pacers’ bench players, Bucks center Zaza Pachulia ended up hitting the floor. When long-serving ref Dick Bavetta walked past to make the call, Zaza asked for a little help getting up off the floor. And as you can see in the Vine below, that help was not forthcoming.
“Well, it means that I am here and alive and happy,” Bavetta said, according to ESPN. “And it doesn’t end here as they say. After tonight, there is another game. That is what we (do). I am just blessed that the ironman streak has been broken here (at Madison Square Garden), I couldn’t ask for something any better. “I can’t think of any reason unless it’s an act of God with weather problems and things like that, but I’ve been blessed by the good Lord above with good health. So that has enabled me to stay healthy over the years and I think it’s symbolic of our profession.”
Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta eclipsed former Major League Baseball player Cal Ripken’s ironman streak, working his 2,633rd straight regular-season game on Wednesday night when the Brooklyn Nets faced the New York Knicks. The league paid tribute to Bavetta before the game with a commemorative plaque and a basketball given to him by NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn. The 74-year-old Bavetta started working NBA games in 1975. In addition to 82 regular-season games per season, Bavetta has officiated 270 playoff games, 27 NBA Finals games and three All-Star Games. His resume includes the 1992 Summer Olympics.
NBA referee Dick Bavetta worked his 2,633rd consecutive game assignment Wednesday, an ironman streak even longer than the one baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. compiled. Bavetta worked the game between the Knicks and Nets at Madison Square Garden, where he began his career in 1975, extending a streak during which he has never missed an assignment. He chalked up his streak to good health, a dedication he said all officials shared, and a fear of inconveniencing someone else if he had to take a day off. “I tell you I don’t think about it, in a sense that I guess it’s a work ethic that I got from my mom and dad, and it’s always been my way of thinking, that you get a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” Bavetta said before the game. And I can’t think of any reason unless it’s an act of God with weather problems and things like that, but I’ve been blessed by the good Lord above with good health, so that has enabled me to stay healthy over the years, and I think it’s symbolic of our profession.”
Phil Jackson doesn’t tweet very often, but when he does and about something very specific to the game of basketball, we take notice. Phil Jackson: Dick Bavetta has been around long enuf to know that clasp Harden put on Trevor-offensive foul…okay i’ll SMH.
14 Oct 13
18 Aug 13
Because the NBA oddly avoids acknowledging anything affirmative regarding its referees, but takes the time at times to spotlight slip-ups, allow me to applaud Dick Bavetta for the following inconceivable achievement: Last night in Orlando, the 72-year-old (his birthday’s Dec. 10) whistleblower worked his 2,500th consecutive regular-season game. Ruminate on that statistic for a second. And now consider this unimaginable appendage: Bavetta hasn’t missed an assignment, excluding 300 in the playoffs (28 straight years) and another 300 exhibitions, since he joined the league in 1975 — and hasn’t once gone postal. We’re talking no sick days to mar his immaculate attendance record. No personal problems requiring a visit to the chaplain. No absence because of snowy flights or death-defying car rides. No “Bob Barker’s spayed and neutered dogs ate my homework.” Thirty-seven years, 27 Finals appearances.
Dick Bavetta, who turns 71 in December, is returning for his 36th season despite persistent rumblings that the league is pushing him to retire. Bavetta has officiated an N.B.A.-record 2,434 games and has never missed an assignment. But he has slipped in the referee rankings over the past few years.