Joey Crawford Rumors
“Pat was completely controlling all the time,” Vitti said. “Phil was more controlling off the court, but not as much during games. Phil did all his coaching in practice.” Jackson also had some unique coaching techniques. “He calls a timeout, and we have one player that’s complaining to the official and Phil walks straight and Joey Crawford is there,” Vitti recalled about a certain game. “Phil looks at his own player, and tells Joey, ‘Joey, give him a [technical].’ What coach would tell an official to give his own player a T?”
You officiated during the golden era of NBA basketball from Bird and Magic to Michael to now. What was that like when you sit back and think about it? Crawford: Kareem, [Hakeem] Olajuwon, Karl Malone [too] … everybody always forgets all these guys. I am very lucky, but I really didn’t appreciate them because I was reffing. When you are reffing, if you are doing your job you are trying to get them to adhere to the rules and it is hard some nights. I appreciated their competitiveness, but I didn’t appreciate those great, great moments. I appreciated [former Jazz coach] Jerry Sloan calling me a no-good … that used to be funny as hell. I used to tell a young referee, if you hit Jerry with a T, he would immediately call you a no-good m—–f—– … so I said when you call the first one, just get away from him because you are going to have to throw him [out otherwise].
You had a certain flair with your body movement when making certain calls and it sometimes went viral on social media. Did you realize you were doing a little extra sometimes and why? Crawford: The one that I hit on social media, the one with Chris Duhon, I screwed the play up. I am calling a block and it was an offensive foul from here to Poughkeepsie. And I should have called an offensive foul, and I get surprised by the play and I said to myself, “Well I am going to try this.” And I start going ba-boom! Ba-boom! Ba-boom! I am skipping out all the way to midcourt and maybe I can sell it this way and the next day, I get a phone call from the office: “Joe, we don’t want you doing that.”
Referees often say that they can’t remember their best calls but will never forget their worst call. Is there one big regret for you? Crawford: There are situations that you regret. The Duncan thing is always a big thing, I regret that. There are numerous interactions that you have with players and coaches, that you get back into the hotel and say, “Why did I say that to him? Why did I do that? That was dumb! Stupid!” Those kind of things wore on me. My last nine to 10 years was a lot better because I wasn’t going through the inner turmoil. … After I went to a sports psychologist, I knew when I screwed up and I tried not to do it again, and even if I did screw up, I would apologize immediately. … As bad or as hard as that was to go through in 2007, it was something I did, I learned from it. I was lucky that Stern gave me my job back and I moved on. I tried to use it as a positive. It was hard to use it as a positive because there was so much negative that came out of it.
Crawford revealed that the referees incorrectly allowed Tim Duncan to enter the game during a video review following Allen’s tying basket, a rules violation that led to a fine for the officiating crew. “That’s the way it should be. You screwed it up, you screwed it up,” Crawford said during an interview at the NBA’s Replay Center. “We just lucked out.”
Allen’s 3-pointer from the corner with 5.2 seconds left in regulation tied it at 95. Referee Mike Callahan told Crawford he wanted to review the play to make sure Allen was behind the arc, though Crawford thought he clearly was. “I said, ‘He’s behind the line like this,'” Crawford said, holding his hands a few inches apart. “And he says, ‘I want to check.’ He says, ‘It’s too important.’ So I said, ‘All right.’ “So we go over and what happens, Duncan came in the game and he’s not allowed to come in the game. So he came in the game, thank God he didn’t score a bucket. That would have been awful.”