Legendary Referee Dick Bavetta Retires

The NBA confirmed rumors that its most iconic referee, Dick Bavetta, is hanging up his whistle after nearly four decades of work.

Bavetta’s career began in 1975 at MSG, and he’s retiring having officiated a record 2,635 consecutive regular season games (in addition to 270 Playoff games, including 27 Finals games.). Along the way, he became – for better and worse – one of the most recognizable figures in basketball history. From the press release:

“Dick’s dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials,” said NBA President, Basketball Operations Rod Thorn. “We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.”


Bavetta worked three NBA All-Star Games (1989, 1995 and 2006) and was the first NBA referee selected to officiate the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. Bavetta also refereed the 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, 1993 Mexico Challenge and 1990 Japan Games in Tokyo.


“On behalf of myself and the entire Bavetta family, I would like to thank the NBA family and the National Basketball Referee Association for allowing me the honor and the privilege of representing them for 39 wonderful years,” said Bavetta. “I am most proud of never having missed an assigned game, be it exhibition, regular season or playoffs, throughout my entire career. It really has been a great run.”