Some say he is the worst official in the National Basketball Association. But, for the past 39 seasons, Joey Crawford has been a fixture in the NBA. Yesterday, March 10th, he announced he will be retiring immediately.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Joseph “Joey” Crawford has been officiating some kind of basketball game since 1970. From 1970-1977, he was officiating high school games in Pennsylvania. That includes 1974-1977 when he worked Eastern Basketball Association (CBA) as well. After the 1977 season with the CBA, Crawford was hired by the NBA at the age of 26. He has wore number 17 during his career.
Over his 39 seasons, Crawford has officiated, a record, 374 playoff games including 50 NBA Finals games. He also has had the chance to officiate 3 NBA All-Star games in 1986, 1992, and 2000. In 1993, he also worked the 1993 McDonald’s Championship game that was held in Munich Germany. On November 11, 2005, Crawford became just the 6th referee in NBA history to officiate 2,000 games while working a Philadelphia 76ers vs Los Angeles Lakers game.
In 2007, Crawford missed his first NBA playoffs and finals since 1986. He had been suspended by the NBA. The suspension happened after he ejected San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan. Crawford claimed Duncan was laughing at him from the bench. It was also said that Duncan insulted Crawford. Duncan them claimed Crawford asked him did he want to fight.
On January 2, 2015, Crawford announced that the 2015-2016 season would be his last. But, with a nagging knee injury, he has missed most of this seasons games. As a return was planned for March 2016, on March 10th, his retired earlier than his expected date as his knee hasn’t healed as it was expected to.
Known as one of the strictest officials in the NBA, his reputation was developed from giving players and coaches technical fouls. Thank you for the memories, Joey Crawford.