Highly respected referee Danny Crawford to retire after 31 seasons

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Last year, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times surveyed a number of players and coaches and asked which referee was the best at his job. Danny Crawford came out on top. There’s a reason he officiated 35 NBA Finals games, including two this past Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors.

After 31 seasons, Crawford has decided to hang up his whistle and is retiring.

Crawford spoke to Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today about his decision.

“I left with gas in my tank,” Crawford told USA TODAY Sports. “Could I have gone two more years? Yeah, I could’ve. But I looked at how many years I gave them and said, ‘When do you stop?’ You keep working this job and you can’t physically do it anymore. I didn’t want that. I wanted to leave with my gas in my tank and I wanted to leave in a positive way.”

Crawford was level headed and found a way to balance the game — players and coaches could vent, he would listen to their protestations, but they knew not to cross the line. He kept the game in control. Between players, fans, and coaches, referees get it from all sides, and the best keep their heads about them and are consistent. Crawford was maybe the best example of that.

He will be missed.