Any legitimate NBA fan knows the name Joey Crawford. This year, Crawford is celebrating his 35th anniversary as an NBA official. In a sport that has seen the reputation of its officials destroyed by guys like Tim Donaghy, you have to be pretty efficient at what you do to still be holding the whistle after three and a half decades. Like everyone else in the human race, however, Crawford makes mistakes.
Many of the 35-year veteran’s lapses in judgment have been a result of his temper, which Crawford admits he has seen a sports psychologist to help him control. Crawford, who is known across the NBA for having a short fuse and being quick to hand out technical fouls, recently sat down for an interview with the New York Times. He admitted that when he first started giving out technicals it was “like giving candy” and shared a couple of funny accounts from times he felt he made a mistake.
“Once, I threw out Don Nelson for staring at me,” Crawford said. “He just folded his arms and looked at me. He called a timeout to do it. Looking back on it, I was not happy with that.
“I have people in Cleveland who stop me at the airport and they say that they were there when I threw out Brad Daugherty and Larry Nance for laughing. They were sitting at the end of the bench. There was something that I did that they didn’t like and they wouldn’t stop, and I just went: “You want to go? Go. Go.” Boom. It wasn’t good.”
And the mothership:
“One night, I hit Bill Fitch with a technical so hard, I broke my finger,” Crawford recalled. “My finger was all swollen. I slammed my whole hand down on it when I gave the signal. That’s why I changed my signal to a little one-finger tap — because I broke it once the old way.”
Crawford said the snapped finger incident was the first time he decided to see a sports psychologist. He may go on a power trip every now and then, but Joey has worked enough games that he has the respect of most of the league. Broken fingers from vicious technicals are nothing more than an occupational hazard.
H/T Ball Don’t Lie
Photo credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE