After 25 years in the NBA, Steve Javie has now transitioned to a very different line of work.
Frank Fitzpatrick reported this week that the former NBA referee is now an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church. Javie was officially ordained this summer at a Philadelphia, Pa. cathedral after a seven-year-long process. In addition to a master’s in theology, the 64-year-old also now has the right to deliver homilies, wear a collar, and perform traditional priestly duties such as marriages and baptisms.
Fitzpatrick notes that former colleague Joey Crawford was in attendance for Javie’s ordination ceremony as well.
“It’s a calling,” Javie was quoted as saying. “It’s nothing I aspired to. I knew I was getting near the end of my career because my knees were failing. That realization makes you think about what you’re going to do afterwards … I thought, ‘I’ve got to be doing something more with my life than blowing whistles against basketball players.’
“People ask me if there are similarities between being a deacon and a referee,” he went on. “It’s funny because people used to think they could tell me how to do my old job. That hasn’t changed, except now people are telling me how to preach.”
Javie officiated games in the NBA from 1986 to 2011. He has since maintained a prominent role as a rules analyst for league broadcasts on ESPN.
The new gig is certainly a change of pace for Javie, but it is not the first time we have seen some overlap between basketball and the Catholic Church.