NBA Referee & Entertainment Icon Joey Crawford Officially Retires

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You know the old saying, “we didn’t pay to watch you ref”? Well you know what… I paid to watch Joey Crawford ref games. We’ll look back at his brand of narcissistic showmanship as the most influential change in basketball since the slam dunk.

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You know the old saying, “we didn’t pay to watch you ref”.

Well you know what… I paid to watch Joey Crawford ref games. If I’m deciding between two games on league pass, I’m choosing the game with Joey on it. He added entertainment value. He added a level of unpredictability. He could at one moment skip his way down the court on a foul call, and in the next eject someone for looking at him sideways.

He’s the first referee to actually make me tune in to watch him. So yes, I did actually pay to watch him ref.

Now, is that a good precedent to set as the (supposedly) neutral arbitrator of a game? Of course not. But you know what else wasn’t a good precedent to set? Dunking. Dunking also seemed outlandish and unnecessary and pretty god damn narcissistic in a time when basketball was centered on white kids shooting set shots. And look at the NBA now.

So before you criticize Crawford and his unique style of overshadowing the game, take a moment to realize what an impact he had. Joey Crawford has inspired an entire generation of narcissistic referees who prioritize making a show before calling a fair game. And while you and I might consider that brand of refereeing outlandish and unnecessary and pretty god damn narcissistic in a time when referees are supposed to stay out of the spotlight and call games as neutrally as possible (while still covering the spread), we should probably get used to it. A whole new generation of Joey Crawford’s will be making phantom foul calls and distributing erroneous technicals soon enough. And the last thing I want to be is that old white guy who didn’t like that players could dunk the ball through the hoop.

Thanks for everything Joey. We sure will miss you.


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