|Born December 10,1939|
Brooklyn, New York
|Occupation NBA Referee|
|Years 1975 - present|
|College St. Francis|
Dick Bavetta (born December 10, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American professional basketball referee for the National Basketball Association (NBA). In his 32 NBA seasons, since 1975, he has never missed an assigned game. By the start of the 2006-07 NBA season, he had worked 2,164 regular season and 228 playoff games, including 24 NBA Finals games. He currently holds the league record for most officiated games. He wears uniform number 27.
He got into officiating after his brother, Joe, who officiated in the American Basketball Association, convinced him it would be an area of interest to him. As a Wall Street broker for Solomon Brothers with an MBA in finance, Bavetta began officiating games played by fellow brokers in the Wall Street League played at New York's Downtown Athletic Club and later worked high school games.
For ten years, he officiated Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York and later nine years in the Eastern Professional Basketball League, which later became the Continental Basketball Association. Bavetta was hired by the NBA in 1975 following the retirement of Mendy Rudolph.
NBA Officiating Career
Altercation with Earl Strom
Bavetta was officiating an NBA game during the mid-1970s between the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets with Earl Strom as his partner for that game. Bavetta overruled Strom on a crucial last-second personal foul call against the Nets, which would have been a victory for the 76ers. When the game ended and players were walking to their respective locker rooms, the door to the referees' locker room flew open and Bavetta came staggering out. His uniform was allegedly ripped and he was wearing a big welt over his eye, running to get away from Strom. Strom stepped out into the hallway and hollered after Bavetta, "You'll take another one of my fucking calls again, right, you motherfucker?"
Most Memorable Game
Bavetta's most memorable game occurred during a 1980s nationally televised contest between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics when he was forced to officiate an NBA game by himself after his partner, Jack Madden, broke his leg in a collision with Celtics guard Dennis Johnson. As the game progressed, Celtics forward Larry Bird and 76ers guard Julius Erving began to strangle each other and were ejected by Bavetta. Bavetta believed this game assisted in the progession of his career in the NBA.
Consecutive Game Record
On February 8, 2006, Bavetta officiated his 2,135th NBA game, setting a league record for most games officiated that was previously held by Jake O'Donnell. Bavetta said the secret to his longevity was "wearing five pairs of socks", which he claims helped keep his feet in good shape. Contributing to his good health, Bavetta says he runs five to eight miles every day.
During the 2006-07 NBA season, Bavetta officiated a December 16, 2006 game between the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets. The game involved a brawl where all ten players on the court were ejected by Bavetta and his officiating crew. The league eventually suspended seven of the players for a total of 47 games and fined both teams $500,000.
Charitable Race Against Charles Barkley
During the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend, Bavetta raced Turner Network Television (TNT) studio analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley for a $75,000 charitable donation ($50,000 contributed by the NBA and $25,000 by TNT) to the Las Vegas, Nevada Boys and Girls Clubs of America, but lost by a narrow margin. The distance of the race was three and one half full lengths of the court (or 329 feet). Bavetta lost the race despite a last-second dive and Barkley running the last portion of the race backwards. The dive resulted in an abrasion injury to Bavetta's right knee. Bavetta gave Barkley a hug and a kiss on the lips after the race.
Bavetta was one of three referees for the notorious Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between Sacramento and the L.A. Lakers. Disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy has alleged that at least one of the referees working this game had subjective motives for wanting the Lakers to defeat the Kings, and made officiating calls to effectuate this outcome. On June 12, 2008 the New York Times reported that the FBI is investigating allegations that Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals between the Lakers and Kings had been manipulated to further the series to a seventh game. Bavetta has also been linked to numerous other NBA playoff games that featured officiating controversy.