Crawford ready to call it quits

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VIDEO: Beyond the Paint looks at Joey Crawford

Attention coaches, players and fans: You’d better hug Joey Crawford while you can, because he’s about to give himself a pair of technical fouls.

The controversial yet respected veteran NBA referee announced he’s ready to call it a career after this, his 39th season. It would mark the end of a colorful character in recent NBA history, a referee who often gets as much attention as some players and coaches. Curiously, Crawford had a Kobe-like and Jordan-like two word response with regard to his future plans:

“I’m done.”

That’s what Crawford told his hometown paper, the Delaware County Times, yesterday. Crawford is recovering from knee surgery and hopes to return to the court on March 1. He’s 64 and feels like his time is up.

“It’s not that you lose your passion,” he said. “But it just comes a point where you say, `I don’t want to make a fool out of myself.’ And it’s been so good that I want to go out on a high note.”

Crawford has worked 50 games in the NBA Finals, an assignment reserved for the refs who grade highest. He has also worked over 300 playoff games. Two years ago he received the Golden Whistle Award, the highest honor in his profession. The NBA family has long held Crawford in high regard, even by those who argued with him and disagreed with his calls. There has always been a long-held belief that visiting teams breathed a sigh of relief when Crawford worked their games; they knew he wouldn’t be intimidated by the home atmosphere.

“It has been a good run,” he said.





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