Joey Crawford Rumors
The Curry incident is different than the one-game suspension Miami forward Udonis Haslem served during the 2006 playoffs and the one-game suspension Indiana’s Reggie Miller served in 2001 for throwing his gum at referee Eddie Rush. Haslem, in a first-round game against Chicago, threw his mouthpiece in frustration toward referee Joey Crawford. Had Curry hit Phillips with the mouthpiece, the league office would likely have had no choice but to suspend Curry.
The Tim Duncan incident in 2007, in which Crawford ejected Duncan and challenged him to a fight in a playoff game, was a turning point in Crawford’s career. Then-NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Crawford, and Crawford increased his number of visits to a sports psychologist. It saved his career. “He was a real pro, that guy,” Crawford said. “He gave me exercises to use. When I felt it kick in – lose my temper or while I was losing it – he gave me certain exercises that helped. My problem was that I’m overly passionate.”
And now he wants to keep working with referees. “I just don’t want to walk away from this. I want to be involved. I think I have something to offer,” Crawford said. “The word I used before is viable. You’re being involved, and you’re trying to help those three people get through the game.”
Calling it quits hasn’t been easy. He watches games, helps out in the NBA’s replay center and hopes to find a job with the referee operations department staff. “I get a little emotional about it,” Crawford said. “When I was 18, I started doing grade school stuff and all of a sudden it stops, and you’re like, ‘What do I do now?’ It’s not as easy as I thought. “I thought it was going to be a little easier. You’re constantly talking to yourself, ‘Turn the page. It’s somebody else’s turn.’ In reality, you’re fighting it every day. You want to be out there. You want to do it, and you know you can’t.”
Joey Crawford: You didn’t get TV games. But if you got a TV game, then you were doing OK. I think my first one was Milwaukee-Boston, with Darell Garretson. And there was an elbow foul—I’ll never forget it for some reason. Harvey Catchings comes to mind; I think it was him. That was like my coming-out party: You got a TV game. It was hard to get into the playoffs. When they called and told you you were in the playoffs, you went, “Wow.” I worked with Hubert Evans, and he got me through those two games. I was scared to death. But you hid it. You hid it from everyone, including your partner.
In the last 25 years, there have been four Game 7s in the Finals—and Crawford worked three of them. He has officiated some of the greatest players to grace the court—from Dr. J to Magic and Bird, Jordan and Malone, Shaq and Kobe, LeBron and Wade and Curry. He cherished the Game 7s—“the pinnacle of what you do”—and listed his first playoff games as his most memorable. But when pressed for favorite moments—A 60-point game? A Jordan masterpiece?—Crawford demurs. Crawford: That’s one of your regrets, is that you don’t get to enjoy that stuff. Because you’re trying to get the plays right. I had the game with Ray Allen, Game 6 [of the 2013 Finals], where they say that’s the greatest. And I think I have the game where Kenny Smith hits the seven threes [Game 1 of the 1995 Finals]. And then I have the game where Reggie Miller scores the points against the Knicks [eight points in nine seconds, in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals]. And then Reggie, years later, he says, “Did you think I committed an offensive foul on the push-off?” I said, “If I did, I would have called it!”