After 39 seasons in the NBA, and at age 64, referee Joey Crawford has decided to retire at the end of this NBA season. After years of wear and tear from running on the court, it finally added up. Some may remember that he injured his knee about a year ago in a Clippers - Mavericks game. This season Crawford has been recovering at home after having knee surgery. While refereeing games though, Crawford made a name for himself as one of the most, if not the most, controversial referees in basketball. A couple infamous instances that come to mind:
(1) His (alleged) feud with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs that at one point apparently witnessed Crawford challenge Tim Duncan to a fight and resulted in Crawford being suspended for the remainder of the 2006-2007 season.
(2) With the game on the line for Game 5 of the first round playoffs between the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder (tied at 2-2), Crawford interrupted Kevin Durant's game tying free throw attempt to have a clock/display issue fixed. Durant proceeded to miss the free throw and seal the game for Memphis.
That's not to say the Clippers have been spared of controversy. ClipsNation has covered the need for more transparency with referee assignments in the NBA. I am sure that Chris Paul, Doc Rivers, and Blake Griffin each have some choice words if you were to ask them about Joey Crawford in private. In the end though, the NBA will not be the same without Joey Crawford.