“We will never, ever see another Dick Bavetta-type in the NBA again,” said longtime ref Danny Crawford. “A guy like Dick and a guy like Joey Crawford and Jake O’Donnell and Earl Strom, those guys had names. After that, I think we’re all pretty uniform and nobody knows who the hell you are. They don’t want us to bring attention to ourselves. Back then they could show that individuality. But after Dick and Joey Crawford, that era of guys who were well-known is over. All of us blend in from that point on.”
“Dick was a guy who was having a lot of fun on the court,” Danny Crawford said. “He’d get on an ice cream cart; he’d play around with the mascots. He was doing his job, but at the same time, he was having fun. So when I think of Dick Bavetta, I laugh. Just because of his attitude in the sport. They stopped [the hijinks] after a while, saying, ‘That’s just not professional.’ But when they allowed it, Dick back in the day was the bes
“I would always try to discuss with the players and the coaches, ‘Help me out here, anything you see in how I referee that can be improved upon?’ ” Bavetta said. “The thing that kept coming back to me was, ‘We find you very approachable. We can talk to you and that’s very important to us.’ That’s what I tried to carry throughout my career. I knew there was no way I was going to referee a game without missing calls. But I had no problem during a timeout or after looking at plays at halftime in going over to somebody and saying, ‘I owe you apology.’ When you show your vulnerability with regards to admitting a mistake, I think your acceptance becomes higher. Your credibility is greater. There’s a comfort level that’s established when people say, ‘I know if there’s a question about a play, I can come over to you and get an honest response.’ ”
Cuban actually considered selling his Mavericks in 2006, at the peak of Dirk Nowitzki’s powers, as he was despondent over the state of the NBA’s referee crew. The Dallas Morning News pointed out that bit of information in its transcription of the podcast on Monday night. Here’s Cuban: “There’s still a lot of room for improvement but I think transparency makes a huge difference. I think the biggest change that’s going to happen that (NBA commissioner Adam Silver) has really started to push through is in recruiting and training.