Longtime NBA ref Dick Bavetta retires after 39 years

Dick Bavetta has retired as an NBA referee after 39 years on the job. (AFP)

Dick Bavetta has retired as an NBA referee after 39 years on the job. (AFP)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 3:19 PM ET

Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta is hanging up his whistle after 39 years.

The league announced Bavetta’s retirement on Tuesday. He worked his first NBA game on Dec. 2, 1975, in Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bavetta, 74, will be best known for his streak of working 2,635 consecutive regular-season games. He never missed an assignment during his long career, which included 270 playoff games and 27 in the NBA Finals.

“Dick’s dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said. “We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.”

In addition to his NBA work, Bavetta also was the first NBA referee selected for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Other international assignments included the 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, the 1993 Mexico Challenge and the 1990 Japan Games in Tokyo.

“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,” Bavetta said.

“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.”


Videos

Photos