Joe Crawford (basketball, born 1951)
Joey Crawford (left) and Mike Brown
August 30, 1951 |
|Spouse(s)||Mary Crawford (m. 1971)|
|Children||Amy Crawford, Megan Crawford, and Erin Crawford|
Joseph "Joey" Crawford (born August 30, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American professional basketball referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA), having worked in the league since 1977. Crawford, who wears uniform number 17, is one of the strictest officials in the NBA and has developed a reputation for assessing technical fouls against both players and coaches. As of the conclusion of the 2012-13 NBA season, Crawford has worked more playoff (300) and NBA Finals games (49) than any other active referee in the league and appeared in the Finals every year between 1986 and 2006. He has appeared in 27 of the last 28 NBA Finals series, missing only the 2007 NBA Finals, due to suspension. In addition to playoff games, Crawford has officiated the NBA All-Star Game in 1986, 1992 and 2000, as well as the 1993 McDonald's Championship in Munich, Germany.
Joe's father, Shag Crawford, was a Major League Baseball umpire in the National League from 1956 to 1975 and his brother, Jerry, was a major league umpire from 1976 through 2010. Crawford currently resides in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. He is married and has three children. He attended the same high school as Tim Donaghy, a former NBA official.
Crawford officiated high school games in Pennsylvania for eight years from 1970 to 1977 and the Eastern Basketball Association (later the Continental Basketball Association, or CBA) in 1974 and 1977. Following his work in the CBA, Crawford was hired by the NBA in 1977 at the age of 26.
NBA referee career
Airline ticket income investigation
In 1998, Crawford was one of eight NBA referees charged with filing false income tax returns after an Internal Revenue Service investigation found that cash was being pocketed by referees when airline tickets provided by the league were downgraded. At the conclusion of a four year investigation, Crawford pleaded guilty on July 1, 1998 to falsely stating income of $82,500 from 1991 to 1993 and resigned from the NBA effective immediately. He was reinstated by NBA commissioner David Stern in 1999 and did not miss a game due to the players' lockout that started the 1998–99 NBA season.
Games officiated milestone
Crawford officiated his 2,000th NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers on November 11, 2005. He was the sixth NBA referee in history to reach such a milestone, joining Mendy Rudolph, Jake O'Donnell, Dick Bavetta, Earl Strom, and Tommy Nunez.
Tim Duncan altercation
On April 15, 2007, Crawford ejected San Antonio Spurs superstar Tim Duncan for supposedly laughing at Crawford from his seat on the bench during a game against the Dallas Mavericks. Duncan also supposedly insulted Crawford with an expletive. Duncan alleges that Crawford asked if he wanted to fight. On April 17, Crawford was suspended for the remainder of the 2006-07 season and the 2007 Playoffs as a result of this altercation, ending his 21 consecutive Finals appearances. The league also fined Duncan $25,000 for verbal abuse of an official and warned that a repeat incident in the future would result in an ejection. Commissioner David Stern said Crawford's actions "failed to meet the standards of professionalism and game management we expect of NBA referees." Crawford met with league officials on July 30 to discuss his future in the NBA but no resolution was reached.
On September 17, 2007, the NBA announced Crawford's reinstatement. Commissioner Stern met with Crawford and stated, "Based on my meeting with Joey Crawford, his commitment to an ongoing counseling program and a favorable professional evaluation that was performed at my direction, I am satisfied that Joey understands the standards of game management and professionalism the NBA expects from him and that he will be able to conduct himself in accordance with those standards."
Crawford admitted the Duncan incident was one of the biggest regrets of his career, saying "The Duncan thing probably changed my life. It was just — you come to the realization that maybe the way you've been doing things is not the proper way and you have to regroup, not only on the court but off the court. I had seen a sports psychologist before that. But after, I saw him a lot more. … It gave me a new perspective."
- "Joe Crawford #17". National Basketball Referees Association. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- Arehart, Jim (May 2004). "Being Joe Crawford". Referee. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- "Extra-Ordinary Average Joe". NBA.com. 2005-11-11. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- Zillgitt, Jeff (2013-06-18). "Tim Duncan nemesis Joey Crawford will ref Game 6". USA Today.
- "Interview with Joey Crawford". Referee. October 1998. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- "Ex-Referee Under House Arrest". CBS SportsLine.com. 1998-10-02. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- "Crawford pleads guilty to tax fraud". CNN Sports Illustrated. 1998-06-25. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- "NBA suspends referee Crawford indefinitely". ESPN.com. 2007-04-17. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- "Ref suspended for actions toward Duncan". Associated Press. 2007-04-17. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- "Crawford meets with NBA; suspension remains". ESPN.com. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2007-08-01.