Tag: Steve Javie

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks

NBA referees Javie, Delaney to retire, Bavetta stays


Sorry Lakers fans. And Celtics fans. And the fans of the 28 other NBA teams that thought Steve Javie had it in for your team. You will not have Javie to kick around anymore.

After a few seasons of battling through knee issues, Javie is retiring after 25 years as an NBA referee, according to Ric Bucher at ESPN.

“I would like to stay at it and end it on my own terms, but in a way I feel as if I’m doing that in that I got to work that 25th year,” he said. “Adrenaline is an amazing drug. The two weeks after the season, the knee was so painful I couldn’t believe it. My doctor said it was because the adrenaline from the season had finally worn off. Every time I start to think maybe I still could do it, my knee has let me know, one way or another, that I can’t.”

Veteran official Bob Delaney also is stepping down, although he announced that would be the case prior to the start of last season. However Dick Bavetta, at age 71, will be back.

Right now a bunch of you are smiling and saying good riddance. But why fans hated Javie is he was one official unafraid to make a big call against the home team late in a game. Refs will not admit fans sway them, but it feels that way. Not with Javie.

And when you watch the guys that replace him, you are going to miss Steve. Trust me.

Referees announced for Game 1 of NBA finals

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks
1 Comment

Your crew of referees for Game 1 of the NBA finals has been announced:

Steve Javie, Mike Callahan and Bill Kennedy. Bill Spooner is the alternate.

That’s a solid crew, one that should by reputation be pretty even handed.

It also lacks the name that will turn the stomach of Mavs fans — Bennett Salvatore. He was the guy at the heart of the 2006 NBA finals controversy, when Dallas fans believe Dwayne Wade got to the free throw line every time a Mavericks player got within three feet of him. (He was also the guy being the aggressor and attacking, but we don’t need to go down that road right now.)

Salvatore will work at least one game this finals, bet on it. But not Game 1.

It's not just players who go take huge steps to get back on the court

1 Comment

Thumbnail image for javie.jpgSteve Javie is like a lot of NBA veteran players this time of year — he is excited, but wonders if his body will let him enjoy that excitement.

We’re used to stories of NBA players going under the knife, trying experimental procedures, enduring a lot of pain for a couple more years on the court. Just a little more run.

Javie has been doing the same thing. An interesting story from Brooklyn’s best NBA writer Howard Beck at the New York Times details what Javie has been going through.

Even Javie is unsure how long his comeback will last. He has no cartilage left in his knee, a result of 30 years of wear and tear. When he runs, “it’s bone on bone,” he said. Javie could have reconstructive surgery, but it would require a year of recovery, and the prosthetics are not designed for the abuse of an N.B.A. schedule.

So Javie has been working hard to strengthen his quadriceps and hamstrings to take some pressure off the knee. He has undergone platelet-rich plasma therapy, which some doctors believe could help regenerate cartilage. Javie also recently began receiving viscous injections that simulate cartilage and provide some buffer between the bones. He hopes the injections “can buy me another year or two.”

Javie will find out in the preseason if he can do it. He has been running some with no swelling or pain lately, but nothing like the strain an NBA season will put on that knee. Like a lot of veteran players, he is unsure.

There are fans of the Blazers — heck, fans of 30 teams — probably rooting against Javie. Every team’s fanbase is convinced Javie has it in for them. But the story of a guy gutting out for one or two more seasons — and in this case not millions of dollars — says something about his love of the game.

Steve Javie may have officiated his last game

Leave a comment

javie.jpgNobody really is sad when a referee retires.

But they go through some of the same things players do. Steve Javie has been wearing the striped jersey out on the NBA hardwood for 24 years. He’s been in the middle of 18 NBA Finals games. Fans in a lot of cities thought he was out to get just their team — maybe the best sign for a referee.

But he can’t run anymore without pain. Not right now. There is almost not cartilage left in his knee after the years of pounding his legs have taken. He’s undergoing intensive rehab to try and get another year or two on the court.

He sounded a lot like a player that way when he talked with NBA.com’s David Aldridge.

“Toward the end of last year, in the playoffs, it really started bothering me,” he said. “I really couldn’t wait until the end of the playoffs just to give it some rest. And I did give it rest at the end of the playoffs. But then when I started to work out again, it wasn’t as good as it had been in the past, getting ready for this season. And it only took a couple of weeks before it really blew up again. Not only was it swelling up a lot, the pain was there too, where it was tough just getting off the elevator and getting to my hotel room.”

An MRI determined that, like many players who’ve spent years running on hardwood, Javie’s knee was almost bone on bone, in arthritic condition. He saw specialists in Philadelphia and New York. He looked into cartilage replacement from cadavers, but that would mean eight to 10 months of rehab, and Javie is only going to do this for another year or two even if he gets back on the court next year.

“There really isn’t much they can do,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do arthroscopically, of course, because there’s nothing to scope. And a couple of people suggested replacements of some sort. But once you have a replacement, whether it be partial or even a full one, they don’t recommend running on it to the rigors of our job. So if I ever got a replacement it would be like the end of the road for me.

Javie also sounds like a player who just retired — a guy who misses the action. He talks about watching games on television and wanting to be there. To hear the crowd again.

It’s still withdrawal. Even if everyone in the building hates you.

Ref Steve Javie oddly absent from the playoffs

Leave a comment

Officiating in the NBA is an impossible task, and referees who are able to earn respect are generally seen in one of two ways:

  • Opportunists whose mediocrity is rewarded by how many referees fail to do the impossible.

  •  Legitimately good at what they do, even if there’s a certain futility to it.

For Steve Javie, who is among the most respected referees in the league, the latter is far more appropriate. Yet a quick look into the playoff box scores reveals a shocking lack of Javie. It’s one thing for a younger official to be cycled out of the refereeing rotation come playoff time, but it’s largely assumed that come post-season, Javie will be there.

TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott sleuthed out the explanation for Javie’s disappearance:

What’s the deal? How could he be benched? I dug in, just certain there must be something fascinating going on.

I was quickly directed to this notification from the NBA: “The
following officials are unavailable due to medical reasons: Steve
Javie, Violet Palmer, Joe Forte, Olandis Poole and Mark Wunderlich.”

Javie, says a league spokesperson, has been out since December 2 with a leg injury, and will not be back this season.

So apparently it’s not a new development, but just one we’ve failed to pay attention to. With so many games happening on a nightly basis during the regular season, it’s easy to understand why refereeing assignments slip through the cracks.

So riddle me this: if a renowned NBA official gets a leg injury in the middle of the regular season and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?