Monday, June 7th, 2010 at 3:30 pm  |  36 responses

End of the Road for Dick Bavetta?

For one of the most recognizable (and controversial) refs in sports history, there are not-so-subtle signs that the NBA may be gently pushing him out. The NY Times reports: “Although the league has not announced it, people who have been told of the schedule say that the 70-year-old Bavetta will not work any of the games between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Some of Bavetta’s peers believe that the league is trying to nudge him into retirement. (The referees are prohibited by league rules from speaking on the record.) No one expects Bavetta will walk away, given his headstrong nature, his enduring enthusiasm and his generous base salary, which is believed to be $300,000 to $400,000 a year. The league assigns its best referees to the late playoff rounds, so when someone falls out of the rotation, it is typically an indication that his ranking has slipped. Two other veterans with extensive finals experience are out this year because of injuries: Steve Javie and Mark Wunderlich. An N.B.A. spokesman declined to comment. The league generally does not discuss referee assignments, or their rankings. Bavetta has worked 2,434 games, the most in N.B.A. history, and has never missed an assignment since he joined the league in 1975. He has worked in 27 finals games, and in every championship series from 1990 to 2008. That streak ended last year — a subtle indication that Bavetta was no longer considered among the elite referees. Any ambiguity was erased this spring, when he was not assigned to the conference finals, ending a 20-year streak. Bavetta had worked in every conference finals round since 1989. Working the late rounds brings both prestige and a financial reward. A referee can earn $100,000 to $125,000 for working the finals, and $10,000 to $20,000 extra in the conference finals, according to a person who knows the referee pay scale. As a veteran official, Bavetta’s bonuses would fall in the upper end of the spectrum.”

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  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    Thats just wrong

  • Cool Dude

    Could Bavetta actually improve these terrible calls on both teams we are seeing in the finals? Let the teams play.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    That’s some crazy money. I had no idea.

  • MP73

    Maybe Bavetta isn’t down with Stern’s plan to have Refs control the series. Why after the Donaghy scandal are Ref assignments and criteria still so secret? I smell a rat

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    there doing the same thing to my wife treating her horribly at work and surrounding her with complete idiots after fireing the competent ones, to see if she’ll quit. Stick it to em Dicky V.
    ^I know kings fans hate em but I have a soft spot for him after the Barkley Race

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    Yeah werent they gonna make the terms more public after the who dabacle. Plus Timmy D prediced Every game in the Conference Finals Correctly in cluding my Mgic winning ga,es 4 & 5 and giving us the Kiss of Death in Game 6

  • underdog

    I seriously don’t understand how can a 70 years old referee keep up with the pace of a NBA game. Props to Bavetta, he must be special. Or at least an x-man.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I’m w/underdog–it’s more than likely that the pace of the game has left Bavetta in the dust. And it may just be the pace that is contributing to the horrible calls. It can’t be easy.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    He should take joey crawford with him. His personal beef with tim duncan should be enough. The 08 wcf non call on fish as he jumped on barrys shoulder, with the l saying next day it should have been a foul, was reason enough to toss him. Things like that simply cant happen deep in the playoffs. But they do, and have, for many years. And the vast majority of the time, its the lakers who benefit, imagine that. Its as if the league wants to see lakers win and influence that desire. That cant be true, or else there would be lots of evidence of that. O? There is? Hmmmmm, now what could that mean?

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    I think this article is false, for the simple reason Dick Bavetta already was talking about retiring back in November. He said this in an article posted on the website of the Orlando Sentinel after a Magic game (against the Thunder). Sadly enough, the link I have doesn’t work anymore, but I don’t think there’s a conspiracy going on.

  • The Philosopher

    The League almost ALWAYS gets it right. They just do.

  • don

    he can still run with bron on a fastbreak at 70? wow. i thought he looked old, but not that old. at 70, you are old, 20 years ago.

  • Hedo Turkeyglu


  • Josh

    I clicked on the headline thinking he was about to kick the bucket. I don’t care what you think about him as a ref but you have to respect a guy doing what he is doing at his age and never taking a sick day.

  • Illydiva

    I understand that there is a certain “tenure” for refs, but there also must be a point when one’s reflexes, vision, impartiality, etc., aren’t as sharp as they once were. Not speaking on Bavetta’s competence specifically; but just as players age and can no longer play at a high level, I would think that holds true for refs. I think what the league needs is some new blood amongst officials. Experience counts for a lot, but just like the quality of play and physical characteristics of players has changed over time, one would think this has to have an effect on refs as well. Unless the league wants the accusations of…we’ll call it “influence” to continue, and fans’ becoming increasingly dissatisfied with that aspect of the game, they really need to look into making some changes.

  • Joey E.

    I know everyone hates the refs, but I really don’t. I grew up with Bavetta on the sidelines, man. I am going to miss this dude

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    surprising that these games are being called by the “Best” refs.

  • Coney Islander

    I hope I can still walk at 70 let alone be running up and down with these mutant athletes.

  • barnabusb

    The refs should be invisible. We shouldn’t even know their names. Good for Bavetta for making crazy money and having a stable job for the last 35 years, but he was too old to be reffing 20 years ago. None of the refs should be over the age of 40.

  • http://NBA.com Miss Kelly

    I just thought of something kind of funny. I wonder do the older or somewhat out of shape refs ever blow the whistle for a fould just so they can get to rest a little bit or catch their breath. What you think?

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    barnabusb: that is ridiculous.

  • dfortruth

    Number 14, Bavetta, I have been saying something is wrong with this ref. The knocked the key Boston players out of the first game, and than they take him out of the lineup; and gave the key players for the Lakers fouls in game #2.

    Damn even the nbs, seems brought and paid for.

  • dfortruth

    Can you say cheating to throw the games. Boston key players game #1, Lakers key players game #2.

    Bavetta #14, I see a problem there.

  • Ronald

    @co-sign barnabusb! being a ref must be the crappiest job in the world. there’s a reason why the bavetta was considered a good ref despite being so old. there’s no one new! kids are lining up to become nba refs

  • barnabusb

    @Gerard: How can you expect 50+ year old men to legitimately keep up with 10 high-performance athletes for 48 minutes straight? Or better yet, why would you want them to? I’d have way more confidence in a younger group of guys 40 and under. Why aren’t ex-NCAA players becoming refs? If I couldn’t make it as a player, I’d love to ref and make $300,000 a year. Especially if you really love the game and still want to be involved and active.

  • a.L.

    maybe chuck should lobby for him..

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    Just as old people get their drivers license revoked at a certain age, referees should be managed out too. Their eyes and reaction times are just not good enough to keep up with the game, though I’m sure Dick is much sharper than most his age. Maybe time for him to scale it back a bit and start enjoying all that money.

  • Justin

    The reason these guys are able to “keep up” for an entire game is because they don’t run end line to end line. The guy at the top, when the ball is turned over or whatever, runs back to get under the basket. The ref under the basket at one end ends up as one of the refs at the top of the 3 point circle. They’re only running 2/3 of the court and are basically standing while the players are running their plays. Don’t get me wrong, they still have to be in phenomenal shape and it’s amazing that a lot of these guys can keep going the way they do. Mad props to Bavetta for being able to do it this long, even if he never was one of the better referees around

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Sh*t, I thought the dude was closer to 85. Honestly.

  • RyandC

    Anybody here who says Bavetta shouldnt be a ref because of age is an idiot. The question should be if he can do his job. If he cant and its because of his age THEN you bring up the age issue. But doing what he has been doing, ESPECIALLY at his age, not putting him in is just wrong.

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    I’ll say it – easily…Bavetta shouldn’t ref, BECAUSE OF HIS AGE.

    You mean to say we don’t have enough young quasi-athletic kids coming out of REFEREE-SCHOOL to learn the trade?

  • Hussman25

    Bavetta is one of, if not, the best Ref the game has… Let him walk on his own (See Joe Paterno)

  • Cizzo

    Husssman25 you are absolutely correct!
    DB is hands down the best Reff ever, hands down I repeat! David Stern is loosing alot of ground with me and alot of people I think the league need a new leader!

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Good. The entire refereing system needs a complete overhaul.

  • The Philosopher

    Shout out to Jake O’Donall.

  • MikeC.

    If Bavetta retires, there’s no point in recruiting any free agents to NY. We can’t win in the playoffs without Knick Bavetta, my favourite ref of all time.