Greg Willard Rumors

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle offered his condolences after former NBA referee Greg Willard died Monday night at the age of 54 because of pancreatic cancer. “We’ve all known about Greg Willard’s situation for many months,’’ Carlisle said after Tuesday’s shoot around at Loyola Marymount University. “We followed the situation closely and we’re all very sadden that he’s passed. “The hope is that this will bring more attention to one of the most aggressive and under-screened diseases that we have.’’
Saw referee Bill Spooner in Detroit last Friday for the first time in a long time and when we were catching up before the game, he mentioned that former ref Greg Willard was having a terrible time fighting pancreatic cancer that hit him last year. I got to know Greg just a little bit over the years in various Marriott concierge lounges and he was a very nice man and a fine referee. That’s what made it hard last night when I got news that he’d passed away; six months younger than I am and a terrible, terrible loss.
Longtime referee Greg Willard, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, had just taken the court and officiated the game even as his body showed the ravages of the pernicious disease. The Lakers had already sent the game ball to the referees’ locker room. Several had shook Willard’s hand after the game. Bryant stopped by for a visit on his way out. “He’s an extremely good ref,” Bryant said of Willard, 53. “He doesn’t hold grudges. He just makes the call in front of him. “Honestly, tonight I wanted him to T me up for old time’s sake. I didn’t want him to have any kind of special night. I wanted it to be just like it’s always been. I wanted to drop a couple F-bombs to him. “I wanted it to be like how it’s always been. That’s the best way. ”