Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 at 12:29 pm  |  64 responses

The Refs are taking our jobs…..

Is the League Saying That This Is The Best They Can Do??

By Khalid Salaam

So I was ready for game 3. I promised myself I would watch an entire game from start to finish, something I haven’t done since the Suns/Spurs series. My reaction to last night’s game? When does the draft start? Because I’m done with these playoffs, no joking, I’m done. Thankfully there is but one or two at the most remaining games. And yeah Lebron was fouled but they weren’t gonna win the game anyway. If you can’t maintain a lead at home, in your teams first ever Finals game, with Duncan scoring 8 points in the 2nd half, with Tony Parker playing like his upcoming nuptials are on his mind and Ginobili going scoreless right up until those foul shots, then you’re not winning at all. San Antonio (and the League??) gift-wrapped game 3 for the Cavs and they still couldn’t capitalize. But back to the foul on Lebron, it brings up another topic.

I can’t recall viewing another year’s playoffs where the refs were so involved. Didn’t a mandate go out before the playoffs started? I thought refs would be less visible, less involved in all but the most obvious of rule violations. They have drained the life outta me as fan. Too much home-court advantage non-sense where the road teams gets called for crossing their eyes too much. Or random non-calls on plays that are super-obvious to everybody else. The commentators always reply with some generic speech about “the speed of the game” and that “they can’t see everything” or something about the refs “opinion” like I care what they think. If they can’t do the job then they shouldn’t be out there. What other profession works like this? If i’m on deadline and my story isn’t in I can’t use the excuse that i just can’t type fast enough. If i can’t get over why should they?

The refs are too damn old to be honest. Here’s a rule, if at the time they were drafting soldiers in WW2 or the Korean war and you at that time were deemed too far past your physical prime and were unable to enlist because you were too old then YOU ARE TOO OLD TO REFEREE A NBA GAME IN 2007. That would save a lot of craziness from ever occurring. There should be cap or something. How about if you’re older than John McCain then you don’t get to judge the athletic prowess of 22 year olds. You ask people why they dislike the NBA as compared to college ball (or the nfl) and you’ll hear a lot of talk about the refs playing too big a role in the outcome of the game. This has to stop. Who’s with me?

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  • Ron

    True that Sam. The refs suck.

  • Slick Nick Da Ruler

    Im with you

  • DubsGonDoIt

    I agree with you Khalid, but what about the players/coaches constantly complaining. I believe that compounds the terrible officiating that is going on. If the refs call a foul or violation, the guy who committed it will complain like a 6itch. If they don’t call a foul or violation, the other guy or team will complain like a 6itch. It’s a mess if you ask me. I don’t see how they are going to fix this crap.

  • Cheryl

    Dude, I’m with you on a lot of things, but I can’t stop watching. I’m so addicted to this game; it’s like heroin, even when it’s bad it’s good. I guess. Okay, maybe it’s not like that. Poor analogy. –ASPOV

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    You and Dick Bavetta should race to settle this.

  • Rasheedionics

    Well, you have to ask yourself, what’s more important to you, the old ref who been there, done that, seen it all, and have a huge amount of experience… or a young ref who may be can run faster and have a 20/20 vision to pick out hotties sitting on 2nd or 3rd levels… I’ll still take the old ref. This has nothing to do with age. It has everything to do with how powers that be want National Business Association to be run.

  • Hlop

    Beat me to it Max,Damn You!!

  • SK

    maybe the players should call their own fouls like high school tennis players. After the occasional fistfight I’m sure they’d figure out what’s “good contact” and “bad contact”, like I did on dates.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Neither. A 25 year old ref with no experience is just as bad. I’m saying, is it too much to expect the best of both worlds? It’s like i’m watching “Cocoon” out there the way it is now.

  • Joel O’s

    Yes! Agreed, Khalid. I think referee accountability has to be increased, and be made public. You’re right about the fact that the Cavs wouldn’t likely have won had the game gone to overtime, but your point exactly is LET THE PLAYERS DECIDE. 5 seconds left, down 3 with at least 2 free throws to shoot: despite the Spurs being a better team, the Cavs had a fighting chance to win, and stranger things have happened. This “refs becoming bigger than the game” thing is really going out of hand.

  • Paps

    It’s like last years final with the all the calls going to Wade. It’s a joke to see touch fouls be called. Let them play.

  • j-bird

    Gimme some young, intelligent refs and a new commisioner and im a happy guy.

  • k.o.

    them’s fightin’ words, and i couldn’t agree more

  • Jack

    Gotta love how the columns have been organised in this format for about 2 weeks now and people are still giving writers props for things they didn’t write.

  • white hot eboy

    Yeah, Bowen tried fouling him, he barely grabbed Lebron near his waist. Lebron got a OPEN look at a 3, shot it off-balance for no reason,the shot almost went down, but he missed. It’s another excuse for all the Lebron apologists, and yes, it’s getting VERY old. Weren’t 95% of the Linkstigators saying the same things about NOWINSKI a couple of weeks ago when he couldn’t come through in the clutch. The kid is great, fantastic, whatever other bullsh*t adjectives you want to use to describe him but he really is struggling to show that he is actually one of the top 5 players in the league due to the fact that he is not CONSISTENTLY a killer. And until then, he takes a back seat to KB24, D-Wade, and the big shadow that’s lurking over him right now, the Robot. These guys are winners, with rings, who are franchise players, who got it done when it needed to get done. (and yeah, two of them had help fom a 330 lb monster). Until he get’s a ring and stands on TOP of the basketball world, he is still looking up at these TRUE champions.

  • Cheryl

    you go (e)boy! ;-)

  • jay

    i am with ya….dick bavetta is in good shape but he is like what 70?? clad joey crawford is home but where are the young refs at?? so true!!!

  • white hot eboy

    Cheryl, as often as you and I say “good point” or “you go” to each other’s points and the fact that we both are Heat-lovers, we may be accused of having an on-line affair. ;)

  • dwang78

    wit u brotha

  • Cheryl

    oops. You know, I try to limit my gushing about DWade, but watching LeBron just seals the deal for me as to which player is better. Both play unselfishly and both have mad skills, but I think college helped DWade understand the “game” that include both physical and mental aspects. We’re just two realists, that’s all!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    Ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto.

    That’s what I never got about the NBA’s refereeing system — tenur. It just doesn’t make any sense? The most experienced get points in that rating system they have. Referees, like any other profession, peak at a certain age. It’s probably between the age of 35-45, where you can get to where you want to be on the floor when you need to be there and still have the cognitive abilities, not marred by years’ worth of bias and the loss of some functionality, to be able to do your job correctly.

    How Joey Crawford and Dick Bavetta have been calling Finals games over the past couple of years is way over my head. Or maybe it’s way under it.

  • Cheryl

    Plus, I don’t go for all the trash talking on this blog, on commentors I don’t agree with. I just like to tease the Slam staff on occasion, then just give my “Sistah’s Point of View” (ASPOV)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    That’s “tenure”, not “tenur” for those who have any idea how to spell things correctly.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    FIFA makes refs retire at 45.

  • T-man

    I have only one thing to say: Get of your knees ref, you’re blowing the game!!! hahaha

  • Dennard

    Yeah, David Stern needs to address the referee issue. The first thing he needs to do is make Knick Bavetta retire. There is no way this guy is only 67. He has to be 97. I would be all for an age limit. Hell, they have one for the players, why stop there?

  • Boing Dynasty

    They have one for players?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I thought Hume Cronyn called a great game last night.

  • DBlizzy!

    I think he means the age that player can enter the league.

    Anyway, I think that was clearly a foul on Bowen at the end of the game and even though he would have missed 2 out of 3, he deserved the chance to shoot them.

  • DBlizzy!

    Eboy I gotta disagree with you. Well actually I am agreeing with you because you point out the Shaq factor. Lebron doesn’t have that and it makes a big difference in how the court is spread and the way the other teams D him. How far in the playoffs has Kobe gotten without Shaq. Wouldn’t you agree that his supporting cast now is waaay better than LeBrons? How many rings has KB and DWade won without Shaq?? Put the Deisel on any team and they become contenders. Keep it real.

  • DBlizzy!

    And I’m a KG fan so this has nothing to do with a LeBron bias.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I love bitter Heat fans. What’s Shaq on the books for, another $60 million? Good luck with that.

  • http://community.foxsports.com/blogs/Hoffman B

    D. Wade isn’t half the player LeBron is.

    Give LeBron Shaq and he’d have a ring by now too. Probably too because there’s no way in hell that The King and Shaq are SWEPT by Chicago.

    Stop complaining Miami fans. You got dealt with.

  • white hot eboy

    @ Russ & B, I’m a Heat fan and I’m not bitter. They sucked this year. End of discussion. No excuses. Lebron has sucked in three Finals games. Period. The Heat and the half-talented D-Wade have a ring to back up the fact that they were the best team last year. Lebron has nothing to show except an ass-whipping in the making (that’s almost completed) And Russ, you’re Bulls first round sweep was nice this year, but how’s that working for YOU right now?

  • sixthman6

    The refs have to call that foul because its obvious, at the end of the game, and its the spurs’ strategy, otherwise its going to create problems. I bet if there is another similar situation later this serious the player to foul is going to give a HARD foul to make sure its called, then the ref is going to call a flagarant, possibly leading to suspensions …all influenced by the refs no call..i know this isnt the case with all hard fouls, but it plays a role in some

  • k.o.

    Gotta agree with ya B, @Eboy: ur argument totally loses its merit when u consider Shaq’s contribution to Wade and Kobe’s rings as simply an afterthought

  • white hot eboy

    DBlizzy, I don’t agree that Kobe’s current Lakers teammates are better than Lebron’s. They’re both pretty inept. And to follow suit with most of the guys (and ladies) that post here, having Shaq on your team now is one of the worst things you could hope for as an NBA team, so no I can’t agree with you. (that’s me going along with the consensus, not my own thought)

  • DBlizzy!

    If you don’t think Kobes teammates are better than LeBron’s then you don’t watch basketball. The difference is that Kobe MAKES his teammate “inept” because he doesn’t pass and he belittles them when they don’t get him the ball.
    And the thing you said about Shaq makes no sense so I won’t address it. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. (but we both know I’m right)

  • white hot eboy

    DBlizzy, Shaq is NOT the type of player he was, even two years ago. His game is so limited in the new flop-happy NBA it’s not worth mentioning. So you need to check yourself with your genius comments. Second, Odom, Walton, Bynum, little Sasha & Smush & KWAME!!! are better than Zzzz, Hughes, Boobie, Gooden, Sideshow and Pavlovich. You must be midly retarted. Your right about Kobe making his boys inept, but that’s the same strategy that was used during the Bulls run and that got them 6 rings (without a center worth mentioning). Or are you old enough to remember truly great basketball?

  • http://www.nba.com Both Teams Played Hard

    shaq is real old now. his contract is too big to bring in solid free agents, unless pat riley trades half the team again(antoine and posey for pierce??) and they win another ship

  • Allenp

    College refs suck balls. In the Super Bowl with the Seahawks all we heard about was the refs, the same thing in a playoff game that year between the Steelers and the Colts.

    Every year fans complain about fans in every sport.

  • DBlizzy!

    Your not even making sense, the topic is not about Shaq dominating, it’s about his presence making it easier on the perimeter players. Can you understand that concept? And I’m not midly “retarted” (dictionary please). How many of the players that you listed from the Cavs play consistently? Boobie is stepping up a little but the rest of them stink. Hughes hasn’t had a good game since he left Washington. Odom and Walton are solid, very capable players. And what do the Bulls have to do with anything we’re debating right now?

  • Allenp

    my bad, the refs in every sport. People make too big a deal about the refs, seriously. They do a pretty good job, most of the time. I would hate to have a job where everytime I messed up it was national news.

    Cause Khalid, I know you have missed deadline, I know you have submitted stories with typos or factual errors and I know you have screwed up at work. The only difference is that people compared it to your overall record and said, well it’s not that big of a deal.

    Didn’t Slam say the same thing when they were comparing their dope covers to the covers that were way off base?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Sure those things have happened (not that often tho. my sh*t is pretty official, but thats besides the point), my point isn’t that people should never ever make mistakes. Or even that they can’t sometimes make mistakes. My point is that you do yourself and your business a disservice by hiring people with a built in weakness (in this case old refs) and then asking them to perform on the highest stage with the most on the line. It doesn’t make sense. I’m not anti the elderly, just saying that natural law has taken some of their eyesight and mobility away from them, which wouldn’t be so bad if they had jobs in the post office. But they work in a field where vision, mobility and quickness (both mind and body) are of paramount importance. Umpires can go longer because they don’t have to run, nfl refs can work longer but they should be capped too. Some positions like line judge don’t have to run as much and the nfl has built in delays and stoppages but nba refs are always running. They have to cap the age of nba refs. and soon.

  • DBlizzy!

    The refs have to know they don’t have it anymore, but just like stubborn old athletes they drag on their careers past their primes. What about adding a fourth ref, to make sure all angles are covered?

  • Cheryl

    what about instant replay in playoff games? Maybe, only in 4th qtrs.? What do refs make? Is there an overflow of applicants? I guess something has to give…

  • Dennard

    David Stern is the real root of the officiating problem. He defends these old geezers too often.

  • SA

    The questionable reffing coupled with the fact that both teams are consistently trying to work the refs has made the NBA absolutely unwatchable to me. It’s not only that the refs continue to make horrible calls night after night, but it seems as if the players and the coaches feel the need to complain about every call regardless if it was right or wrong. That coupled with everyone trying to take a charge or draw a touch foul on every possession is just too much. Say what you want about guys like Manu Ginobli, but we all know if we ever played against a guy who plays like he does, at any level, it would take about three possessions into the first game for someone to hit him in the face, and deservedly so. In todays NBA, however, thats the standard operating procedure.
    This was the first season since 1993 that I didn’t attend at least one game live, and the current course that the NBA is on really has me considering the idea of giving it up completely.

  • D2B

    The refs suck, but its David Stern who’s ruining the game by coddling the players. He wants the small amount of contact called. Screw dat! Let them battle it out on the court. I am tried of seeing the best players sit on the bench the whole game because they are saddled with fouls!

  • Chukaz

    The Cavs really don’t have a chance now. Their chances of loosing in 4, is a scale of 1-10 is like 108,797,014,371. Yeah thats right one-hundred and eight trillion, seven-hundred and seven million, fourteen-thousand, three hundred seventy one.

  • Mr. Concepcion

    Refs never do a bailout call at the end of a game in the regular season, why would they in the Finals. Bron is no D-Wade, hes too scared to win.

  • sk

    yeah the crying has 2 stop by the players ….but to be real with everybody a foul could be called on EVERY single play….

  • tike


  • Co Co

    You’re not (anti the elderly) Hilarious! Anyway, I agree with you about the refs, but my only problem is people tend to only complain about the last play of the game like that is the biggest reason a team lost. Trust me, you did a whole lot of other ish wrong earlier in the game that had a lot more to do with why you lost.

  • maio

    I sincerely think that the NBA has the best officials in any team sport ever. Sure there are blown calls and sure there is (was?) Joey Crawford but there is no obvious favoritism and there are no cases of refs “jobbing” a game like they not so rarely do in Europe.

  • maio

    And the FIFA age limit is primarily in effect because soccer refs are requierd to run like 10 miles per game in all kinds of weather and deal with players and fans who often have evil thoughts.

  • Allenp

    I’m leery of an age limit, because a lot of the best refs are the old refs.

    They decide who covers the playoffs and finals based on a grading system and it seems like just about every year older refs make the cut. Now you could attribute that to a conspiracy by David Stern, or you could say there is more to reffing then mobility and eyesight. I like Dick Bavetta as a ref and he’s a geezer. But when I watch him work, I see somebody who is in control of the game and who does a good job making the right call 90 percent of the game. Some of the young refs are really bad at both of those things. I think the officiating could be better, but I don’t support an age limit.

  • sixthman6

    i think i read refs make pretty good money, most NBA refs make over 100k i believe, but i think you need a certain amt of experience/yrs and thats probably why everyone is so old

  • Sparker

    i’ll take d wade over lebron until lbj figures out that he needs a mid-range game. d wade keeps it simple, drive all the way; or drive and stop and pop (i know it started raining threes in last year’s finals, but the more time passes, the more i think i dreamed that). still, you can’t discount shaq’s effect on defenses. teams must and do adjust to his presence- even if the best that can be said of his offensive game is that he’s only unstoppable from two feet away and less

  • Sparker

    i’ll take d wade over lebron until lbj figures out that he needs a mid-range game. d wade keeps it simple, drive all the way; or drive and stop and pop (i know it started raining threes in last year’s finals, but the more time passes, the more i think i dreamed that). still, you can’t discount shaq’s effect on defenses. teams must and do adjust to his presence- even if the best that can be said of his offensive game is that he’s only unstoppable from two feet away and less

  • Sparker

    oops. don’t even know how i did that

  • http://www.geocities.com/dagomardeg Dagomar

    This is a pretty innane comment section at points. Look, the difference between Wade and Lebron in the finals is obvious.

    Lebron has/had teammates who cannot shoot. That means there’s nobody to space the floor for him. He also doesn’t have a major inside presence to draw a doubleteam (like Shaq). So the Spurs can effectively put five great defenders on him at once. How is he going to surmount that?

    Look, not even Jordan won without Pippin. And with a hobbled Shaq this year, Wade couldn’t even get out of the first round, injury or no. Wade had a great selection of veteran players around him to support him and Shaq. He had Mourning. Lebron has Varejao. There’s a big difference.

    For all that, Lebron still carried his team to the finals. He has alot to be proud of. Let’s also not forget he’s a full 3 years younger than Wade. In my opinion, both players are about equal, but James has the bigger upside.

  • Dashiell

    LeBron was fouled before he took the shoot, so he’d have gotten only 2 free throws. I thought letting him take the three instead was actually a pretty good decision by the refs.

  • http://www.btnhboard.com Gambino

    Didn’t they have a video ref at some point or is that just my imagination? Have that video ref for those calls your not sure about, we have them here in australia for football, and they are a welcome addition, leaves nothing up to “I think that happened” and leaves no chance of arguing a call