Retired Ref Steve Javie to Provide TV Commentary During the NBA Finals

by June 11, 2012

Legendary referee Steve Javie – who retired last year, and who may or may not hate the Miami Heat – will work the NBA Finals for ABC/ESPN. SI has the details: “The longtime NBA official, who retired before the start of this season due to an arthritic right knee after 25 years in the league, has been hired by ESPN as a rules analyst for pregame and postgame coverage of the NBA Finals, as well as SportsCenter. Javie hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mike Pereira, the former NFL vice president of officiating who has been sensational for Fox Sports in helping viewers understand the NFL’s byzantine rule book. Javie said Pereira’s success inspired him to pitch ESPN on a similar position months ago. Last week, Laurie Orlando, ESPN’s senior vice president of talent planning and development, reached out to Javie to do a segment on SportsCenter on the officiating of the Heat-Celtics series. Network officials were pleased with what they saw and have now invited him to work the NBA Finals. ‘Mike and I are friends and I think what he’s done has been fantastic,’ Javie said. ‘He’s been the trailblazer here and he told me he thought the NBA, ESPN or TNT would be interested in something like this. I think Mike has really gained credibility for officials in the NFL, but fans of the NBA have never heard from or been given the perspective from the officials’ point of view. I’m hoping for positive feedback because I believe it’s something that’s been missing. I hope people come away and say, ‘Boy, I didn’t even look at it that way, and I never knew that.’ Asked whether he could criticize his former NBA colleagues, Javie offered a nuanced take. ‘One thing officials do all time is critique each other as a crew when we are watching film after a game,’ he said. ‘You have to be open, honest and objective. The first thing I tell young referees is if you are not objective enough to admit your mistakes, you are not growing in the profession. The key is why did I blow the whistle or not blow the whistle, and I think I’ll be able to offer that perspective. I can probably show you the reason nine times out of 10 why an official missed the play, whether it was because of the angle or the positioning they were in. People need to know how they could miss something. Now I’m not going to be a jerk about it because these are my guys. But I want to be the voice of the official and tell people, ‘Look at this play. Maybe you should have had a whistle here, but here is the reason why they didn’t blow it.’ I won’t be a guy who blasts the officials but at the same time I will be someone who points out to fans that the ref did not get a call right and here’s why. It’s not necessarily a criticism but an explanation on why a call was missed.’”