Ironman NBA referee retires after 2,635 games

Dick Bavetta reffed for 39 years without missing a game.

      
 

 

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Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years (Yahoo Sports)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 18: NBA referee Dick Bavetta looks on during the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 18, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA referee Dick Bavetta is retiring after a 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment. Bavetta officiated a record 2,635 consecutive regular-season games after starting his NBA career on Dec. 2, 1975. He also worked 270 playoff games, including 27 in the NBA Finals. NBA president Rod Thorn says Tuesday in a statement that the league is ”grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.” Bavetta, 74, also worked the 1992 Olympics, the first involving NBA players, and has officiated in leagues in New York and New Jersey.


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Veteran NBA ref Dick Bavetta retires after 39 years

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment

      
 

 

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Dick Bavetta Retiring After 39-Year Career as NBA Referee

After a lengthy and successful NBA career, longtime referee Dick Bavetta is retiring. 

NBA.com on Twitter announced the news Tuesday:

NBA.com added more in a press release:

Bavetta, who began his NBA career on Dec. 2, 1975, at Madison Square Garden in a game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics finished with a record 2,635 consecutive regular season games officiated, having never missed an assigned game throughout his entire career. Bavetta also officiated 270 Playoff games including 27 Finals games.

‘Dick’s dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials,’ said [NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn]. ‘We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.’

Per that release, he also worked three All-Star Games and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, remembered as the birth of the Dream Team. Before coming to the NBA, he spent time officiating for the Eastern League, Rucker League, FIBA, Jersey Shore Basketball League and the Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York City.    

Bavetta commented on his career, via the NBA’s release:

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.

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.

And an impressive one at that.

You wouldn’t blame most referees for taking a game off now and again. After all, it’s not an easy gig—the fans give you nothing but flak, players and coaches constantly harass you and, no matter what calls you make, at least half of the people watching always think you got it wrong. 

That never stopped Bavetta, however.

There are several ways to put Bavetta’s career into perspective. The first is that his streak for consecutive games officiated is a longer one than Cal Ripken Jr. managed in his career with the Baltimore Orioles, when he played in 2,632 consecutive games.

The second is provided by Tom Haberstroh of ESPN:

Brad Stevens, of course, is the head coach of the Boston Celtics.

After a long career such as his, Bavetta may very well enjoy a quiet retirement. But if he gets the itch to be involved in the game in some way, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him turn up as an analyst down the line, either, as it has become a popular practice for media companies to turn to former referees to analyze the current crop of officials during broadcasts.

And maybe he can start a streak of consecutive broadcasts while he’s at it.

 

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Is There 1 Last Chapter in Leandro Barbosa’s NBA Career After FIBA World Cup?

Leandro Barbosa has already had his fair share of NBA minutes and moments, but it might be dangerous to shut the book on the career of the 31-year-old guard just yet.

Playing with the Brazilian team in the FIBA World Cup, Barbosa has the perfect platform to show NBA teams that he can still play at a high level. Although guard is one of the most densely populated positions in the league, Barbosa’s lightning-quick first step and brilliance in transition could be seen as an upgrade for a few teams in need of a little more depth.

It’s a good sign for Barbosa that in advance of the World Cup, he’s already had a few nibbles from NBA teams.

Here’s more from Shams Charania of RealGM:

Leandro Barbosa has had discussions with a few NBA teams about a possible free agent deal, hoping to use the upcoming FIBA World Cup to further prove his health, the 11-year veteran told RealGM.

Barbosa hasn’t held visits with any team, nor is he considering a return to the Brazillian league. The 31-year-old has focused on his Team Brazil, which lost to USA Basketball in its first exhibition game.

“I don’t know what owners think about the World Cup, but hopefully I do a great job over there and a team sees,” Barbosa said on Sunday. “I feel healthy and my body is feeling healthy. If I have free agency in my mind, I won’t be able to be myself on the court. Hopefully, I sign a contract and I’ll be happy.”

Health has been the biggest issue for Barbosa, as multiple injuries over the last few years have robbed him of at least some of his athleticism. Barbosa incredibly returned to action in Brazil last year only eight months removed from ACL surgery, which is pretty remarkable.

The injuries have taken their toll, however, as a hurt shoulder limited Barbosa’s effectiveness with the Phoenix Suns last year. Even though he struggled to hit from behind the arc, shooting a career-worst 28 percent from deep, Barbosa still scored at a decent clip (14.7 points per 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com) and gave the Suns a nice option off the bench with Eric Bledsoe sidelined.

Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that Barbosa will find a home in Phoenix once again. While Bledsoe is still a restricted free agent, the Suns picked up Isaiah Thomas and drafted Tyler Ennis. It’s just too crowded a backcourt.

It’s a shame, because it seems like Barbosa really fit well in the uptempo system Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek likes to employ.

Here’s what Hornacek told Paul Coro of USA Today last year: ”It doesn’t even look like he is going that hard, but he knows when to do it. He takes one or two dribbles and then he explodes, and that explosive step is what gets him by people.”

It’s that first step that made Barbosa an iconic figure with one of the most remarkable offensive teams we’ve ever seen: the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns under Mike D’Antoni. There’s a reason Barbosa was known as the “Brazilian Blur,” as very few players could get out in transition and score the way he could.

It’s important to remember that Barbosa was a great spot-up threat on those teams as well. In his 11-year career, Barbosa is a 39 percent three-point shooter. Defenders often left him open for fear of getting blown by, but Barbosa was plenty dangerous from all over the floor.

While it’s unfair to expect Barbosa to ever get back to that status as one of the league’s best sixth men, he could be in for a bit of a revival as long as he has a clean slate of health.

Here’s Nate Loop of Bleacher Report with an interesting fit for Barbosa:

If the Cavaliers can’t sign [Ray] Allen and Barbosa proves he can still shoot, the Brazilian might actually be a solid backup option for the team. He’s still relatively young for a veteran free-agent looking for another payday, although if his athleticism has drastically declined it could definitely hurt his overall effectiveness as a player.

Barbosa would be an interesting option on Cleveland’s bench, as he can chip in some at the point in addition to backing up Dion Waiters at the 2. The Cavs may want a better defender off the bench, but you can dream on Barbosa leaking out to receive gorgeous outlet passes from Kevin Love. If Cleveland wants to run, he’s a good fit.

Another interesting option would be the Washington Wizards. That’s a team that should want to get out and run with John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, and it might be dangerous to rely on Andre Miller as the sole backup point guard at this stage of his career. Barbosa’s shooting on the wing could help quite a bit with Martell Webster sidelined as well.

The Golden State Warriors would be a strong fit as well. Scoring off the bench was a major issue last year, and Barbosa’s athleticism in transition would be nice to have on the wing. Shaun Livingston’s ability to guard bigger players would make for a nice defense-offense pairing off the bench. 

If Barbosa didn’t impress enough teams with his stint last year with the Suns and his play in FIBA, he’ll stay on a lot of lists for a midseason pickup once injuries hit. He’ll be valued as a veteran who can learn systems quickly and play either backcourt position.

As long as he stays patient and turns down contracts overseas, Barbosa should have at least one more run in the NBA left in him.

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Tristan Thompson jumps into pool after doing Ice Bucket Challenge

As we continue our coverage of NBA players doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson is the latest to take on the challenge.
After being challenged by numerous folks, Thompson got the bucket of ice water dumped on him but added a twist to his challenge by jumping into a pool after it in the below Instagram video:

Good job taking on the challenge, Tristan!
***
Thompson image courtesy of Getty Images

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US Basketball: No Africa trip after Ebola outbreak (Yahoo Sports)

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14: Managing Director Jerry Colangelo of the USA Basketball Men's National Team speaks to the media after practice at the Quest MultiSport Facility on August 13, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The U.S. national team has canceled a trip to Senegal after the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Americans were scheduled to interrupt their World Cup of Basketball preparations to travel to the African continent for the first time, conducting a joint clinic on Aug. 27 with the Senegal national team. They planned to tour Senegal’s Goree Island and attend a reception hosted by the Senegalese government. More than 1,000 people have died in West Africa in the last six months after the outbreak quickly spread to major cities in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.


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Can San Antonio Spurs Keep Killer Edge After Getting NBA Finals Revenge?

The San Antonio Spurs were on a mission last season.

“We’re happy to be back here this year,” Spurs big man Tim Duncan told reporters after clinching an appearance in the 2014 NBA Finals. “We’re happy to have another opportunity at it. We’re happy that it’s the Heat again. We’ll be ready for them. We’ve got some experience, obviously, from last year against them. And we’ll go back and look at some film. … We’ve got that bad taste in our mouths still.”

“We just had a weird year this year,’ Duncan further stated. “We were pressing hard early on and grinding on each other, just because of what happened last year. We were able to settle ourselves down. I’m proud of the team for just being ready, just not letting that weigh on us and using it as an excuse for anything. We’re back here now, and we want to get it done this time.”

The comments were a rare glimpse into Duncan’s raw emotion.

As The Washington Post‘s Michael Lee observed, “Duncan has been notoriously bland to media for most of his 17-year career, choosing to bury his personality with thoughtful but intentionally boring quotes that help him avoid unwanted attention.”

In a game that’s as psychological as it is tactical, San Antonio’s battle-tested troops faced a difficult return to form. 

There was a very real risk that the club would emerge from the ashes as a demoralized shell of its former self. Instead, a diligent march through the Western Conference—after a season in which San Antonio claimed the league’s best record—proved the Spurs either had short memories or simply understood how to make the most of their trauma.

At the time, head coach Gregg Popovich explained:

I think our guys, they actually grew from the loss last year. I call it fortitude. I think they showed an unbelievable amount of fortitude. If I can compliment my own team humbly, to have that tough loss, especially the Game 6, and not have a pity party, and come back this year and get back to the same position, I think that’s fortitude…I’m really proud of them, and even happier for them.

While it took fortitude to overcome a historically disappointing collapse in the 2013 Finals, that collapse wasn’t without a silver lining. There’s little doubt it went on to fuel San Antonio’s championship pursuit a season later, offering no shortage of determined motivation along the way.

The Spurs had a five-point lead with 28 seconds remaining in Game 6 of the Finals in 2013. 

Thanks to some shoddy rebounding and Ray Allen’s three-point heroics, that lead evaporated. In turn, the Spurs went on to lose Game 6 in overtime—and then Game 7 as well. It was a reversal of fortune that wasn’t easily forgotten.

“At some point during the day, it goes through my head,” Popovich explained to the media in January. “I’ve said it a lot of times. My hope is that over time I’ll think about it every two days, and then every week and then every month and then that kind of thing.”

By now, 2013′s catastrophic implosion should be a distant memory for Popovich and his now-vindicated roster.

On the brink of the 2014 rematch, NBCSports.com’s Brett Pollakoff noted, “The Finals loss was as painful as they come for the Spurs, and they’ve overcome that disappointment admirably by methodically marching back to this point to have a rare shot at redemption.”

And now the franchise has an equally rare shot at winning back-to-back titles, something it’s never done despite five championships during the Duncan era.

Though the opportunity will almost certainly preserve some measure of fire and fortitude, the reality remains that the 2014-15 Spurs will have a radically different mindset than the one that kept them going a season ago.

Now they’re victors, world champions. Duncan has five rings to his name, and the organization is almost certainly beginning to at least think about its next chapter, the one in which younger pieces like Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard take the torch.

Indeed, there’s a temptation to view the entirety of next season as something of a victory parade, perhaps one last go-round in Duncan’s iconic career.

In times as happy as these, it’s a bit hard to imagine the Spurs playing like men possessed once again.

The bitterness is gone, and the otherworldly focus may go with it.

On paper, of course, this team is virtually identical to the one that swiftly schooled the Heat in a lopsided five-game series last season.

Free agents Boris Diaw and Patty Mills will both return (though the latter will miss a few months with a shoulder injury). Duncan put off retirement for at least another season. Point guard Tony Parker even inked an extension, though he would have been under contract this season anyway. Popovich also agreed to a multiyear extension, likely ensuring he coaches even beyond Duncan’s eventual retirement.

Were trips to the Finals merely about talent and coaching, the Spurs would seem locks to repeat. 

But the reality of title success is more complicated. Beyond the luck, rhythm and chemistry that have to converge at the right time, winning ventures require inspiration. It can be the difference between the killer instinct San Antonio displayed in 2014, and the apparent lack of focus that doomed its effort a year prior.

What will inspire these Spurs? Could they suffer the same kind of complacency that seemingly infected Miami as it enjoyed its fourth straight trip to the Finals? 

San Antonio’s roster has long been admired for its even-keeled, business-like approach. With Duncan leading the way, the Spurs never get too high, and they never get too low.

But that seemed to change ever-so-slightly last season. After a tightly contested first-round series against the frisky Dallas Mavericks served as a wake-up call, the Spurs demonstrated renewed intensity for the remainder of the postseason.

And it’s that intensity that could be missing going forward.

The good news is that Popovich is a master of the game’s mental component. He has his finger on the team’s pulse and knows what buttons to push. That may not be a substitute for the last season’s quest for sweet revenge, but it should keep this team in the title mix.

From there, the Spurs may have to start thinking about things like legacy, about the detractors who argue no dynasty is complete without back-to-back titles. They may have to manufacture the kind of narrative that came so naturally a season ago.

The Heat may no longer stir this team at a primal emotive level, but LeBron James still lurks in the Eastern Conference, looking to establish a new dynasty of his own.

Perhaps an opportunity to again thwart the familiar foe’s ambitions will be all the motivation San Antonio needs.

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Teens in Hot Water After Sneaking into Ray Allen’s Miami Home

Imagine an episode of Scooby-Doo in which the gang gets too nosy and scares the hell out of a poor woman and her children.

This is the gist of what happened early Thursday morning when a gaggle of teenage partiers decided to take an unguided mystery tour of Ray Allen‘s Miami home.

The Miami Herald (h/t Ball Don’t Lie’s Dan Devine) reports that seven teenagers could be facing trespassing charges after sneaking into the free-agent shooting guard’s home in Coral Gables on Thursday morning.

According to the Herald‘s report, the teens had been partying at a residence next to Allen’s property when they decided they wanted to investigate the mysteries surely waiting inside the guard’s home.

Believing no one was home, seven young men and women—aged 18 and 19—entered the first floor through an unlocked back door. While Allen was not on the premises, his wife, Shannon Walker Allen, and children were sleeping upstairs.

Things quickly took a turn for the would-be explorers when Shannon awoke to the sound of their voices and chased them out the back door.

Shannon reportedly screamed, “What are you doing in my home?” and called police as the teens fled the scene.

Officers responded and, with the help of the next-door party host, located the seven intruders at a nearby address. 

After several hours of questioning, authorities released the teenagers without charges. Nothing had been broken or stolen during their incursion, and the police could not file trespassing charges, as none of the officers had witnessed the act. 

The kids aren’t home free, however. The Herald reports that Shannon can, and intends to, file trespassing charges.

ProBasketballTalk’s Kurt Helin writes that he understands why the teens did what they did.

I get it in this sense,” Helin writes. “I bet Ray Allen has a cool house. Probably some sweet memorabilia. But in a state with ‘stand your ground’ laws that appear to be broadly interpreted, the youth should be happy this turned out the way it did.”

Don’t sneak into people’s homes, kids. This isn’t Night at the Museum III: Delta House Detectives

This is the real world. We have rules here, and while we all know Allen’s living room holds a copy of the Constitution with his free-agency plans on the back, we can’t just charge in willy-nilly to look at it.

Come in the daytime. Knock on the door. Bring Jell-O. You can do better.

 

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USA Basketball moves forward after George injury

Even after George injury, no second thoughts about World Cup for USA Basketball players

      
 

 

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