Referee Joey Crawford to retire at end of season

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Fans of 30 NBA teams are convinced Joey Crawford has it in for their guys.

But they are not going to have him to kick around anymore after this season.

Crawford — who has been recovering from knee surgery this season and is expected to return sometime after the All-Star Break — told Jack McCaffery of the Delaware County Daily Times (his hometown paper) he is out after this season.

“I’m done,” he said.

Recovering this basketball season in his Newtown Square home from knee surgery, the Havertown native hopes to resume refereeing pro-basketball games by March 1. If he grades out, and that is the likely result, he will work in the playoffs, eventually hoping to add to his career total of 50 NBA Finals games officiated. Then, the former worker at the Wayne post office, the former CYO, Catholic League, Public League, Eastern League and any-Delco-bar-league referee will silence his whistle….

“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” Crawford said. “You know what happens? It’s not that you lose your passion. I have that. That’s insanity. But it just comes to the 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. I don’t want to go out on a low note. I want to be in the NBA Finals, and I don’t want to be reffing just for the sake of reffing.”

Crawford is a fiery referee — remember he got suspended for once challenging Tim Duncan to a fight back in 2007, He once broke a finger he gave a technical so hard, and during last season’s Finals he told Timofey Mozgov to shut up — but he was also the referee you wanted to see if your team had a big game on the road. He didn’t fear making the big call against the home team in the biggest moments. He didn’t care about anyone’s reaction to his decisions. He did what he thought was right.

The first reaction of a lot of fans to this news will be “good riddance.” But you’re all going to be sad you don’t have Crawford to kick around anymore.