The NBA tried to push Dick Bavetta out the door starting a few years back, but he was going to leave on his own terms.
Age 74 seemed about the right time.
Bavetta is officially stepping away after 39 seasons as an official, the NBA announced Tuesday, something that had been reported a while ago.
“Dick’s dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials,” said NBA President, Basketball Operations Rod Thorn in a statement. “We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.”
“On behalf of myself and the entire Bavetta family, I would like to thank the NBA family and the National Basketball Referee Association for allowing me the honor and the privilege of representing them for 39 wonderful years,” said Bavetta in his statement. “I am most proud of never having missed an assigned game, be it exhibition, regular season or playoffs, throughout my entire career. It really has been a great run.”
I can list Bavetta’s achievements: 2,635 consecutive regular season games officiated, 270 Playoff games including 27 Finals games, three NBA All-Star Games (1989, 1995 and 2006) and he was the first NBA referee selected to officiate the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.
But really, what you remember him for is racing Charles Barkley.
It was time for this, but Bavetta was part of the personality of the NBA. He will be missed.