Joey Crawford Rumors
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!”
Crawford: Hubie Brown one night. We were in Cleveland. And I throw him on the way to the locker room. He was annihilating me. I said, “Hubie, stay in the locker room, you’re done! You’re done! Stay in there.” We had a guy who used to take care of our locker room. And the poor guy, he knocks on the door. He said, “Hubie’s out here; he wants to fight you.” And I went, “I’m not coming out!” Because he could have kicked my ass. Hubie and I laugh about that to this day when we see one another.
Crawford: Sam Cassell, I loved him. One of my all-time favorite guys. And he’s pissed off at me. And he’s going back into the huddle. And I’m watching him. And he’s cursing me as he’s going in for the timeout. I mean, he’s annihilating me. And I don’t call a T. His back is to me. But I know he’s annihilating me. So I’m saying to myself at the time, “Joe, don’t deal with it, just [let it go].” I start walking toward the huddle, and [his teammate] is going, “Joey’s coming, Sam. Joey’s coming.” And Sam’s going like this: “F–k Joey Crawford!” (Crawford is laughing as he repeats this.) I didn’t laugh. It would be unprofessional. And I didn’t even hit him with a T, honest to God. Those kinds of guys, I just got the biggest kick out of. Sam was one of those kids who didn’t care what he said. He thought he was right—he was right.
Crawford: John Salley might have been one of the best. He was at the All-Star Game. I think he was a union rep. I have my three daughters with me. We’re sitting there with the kids—me and my wife and John—we were talking, laughing. He was telling me the ugliest guys in the league, and he mentions Tyrone Hill. We get back after the All-Star break. He’s with Detroit, and I call a loose-ball foul on him. So John says to me, “You call another one of those fouls on me, I’m giving Tyrone Hill your daughter’s phone numbers.” As I’m giving the [call to the official scorekeeper], I’m laughing. I had tears coming to my eyes.
Give me one word to describe… Tim Duncan. Excuses. David Stern. Friend. Gregg Popovich. Different. Rasheed Wallace. Smart. Gary Payton. Loud. Michael Jordan. Incredible. Kobe Bryant. Tenacious.
Former NBA official Tim Donaghy joined me on the radio show to talk about officiating, star treatment and how the Warriors are officiated. Oh, also, his thoughts on punching out Joey Crawford during a spat in a New Jersey hotel lobby in 2001. “He smacked me across the face,” Donaghy said. “When he did that I immediately turned around and punched him with a left hook… I did drop him, but to his credit and I will give him credit, his head was like hitting a rock. He jumped right back up and we were ready to go right there in the lobby. There was a wedding going on. People were screaming. People grabbed him and people grabbed me. I got knocked out of the second-round of the playoffs for that. Cost me $15,000… there was a lot of people who thought Crawford got away with a lot and wanted to smack some manners on him.”