I've you've Red's Army for any length of time, you've probably heard me wonder aloud how the league could employ referees in the late 50's and 60's and expect them to run up and down the court with 24 year-old mega-athletes and expect them to make accurate calls. I know experience is a good thing to have as an NBA official… but let's face it… if you can't get yourself into a good position to make the call, you're just going to wind up guessing a lot of the time.
So count me as among the happy that 4 current refs are out… making the way for some new blood.
Sean Corbin and Phil Robinson, who worked 17 and 12 years in the league, respectively, also will not be back. DeRosa (21) and Forte (22) worked 43 years combined as officials.
According to The Times, the NBA did not give a reason why the officials are leaving.
The Times also reported that longtime officials Dick Bavetta and Steve Javie will return. Bavetta will be entering his 36th season calling games, but the Times reported that the 71-year-old has fallen in the league's rankings and the NBA is trying to push him out.
Even better news.
I'm not trying to deny someone the right to do something they love. But honestly, what is a 71 year old doing out there? Yeah, I know all about age discrimination laws… but there's common sense involved too. You mean to tell me that if Dick Bavetta is at the top of the key, and Rajon Rondo rips Dwyane Wade… that Bavetta is going to be in position to see if LeBron's chase down block is really a block and not a goaltend… or that LeBron didn't get a ton of body in the process?
No, he's not. Because those are 3 of the fastest guys around. And LeBron is the size of an NFL tight end. And there's no way Dick can get back there fast enough to see the play. And what if that's the play to determine the outcome of a game… and of playoff seeding… and it changes the entire shape of the post-season?
Yes, yes, yes… I know that's one hell of a slippery slope argument. But it doesn't change the fact that as much as Bavetta loves being a ref, it doesn't mean he should be. And maybe when I'm 72, someone will tell me I shouldn't be a writer anymore because the game has passed me by. And maybe they'll be right.
The officiating ranks need some new blood. Younger blood and younger legs that have a better chance at seeing what's going on out there and making the right calls. Guys that haven't had decades to build up grudges. Guys that maybe can start changing some of the negative light that shines on the NBA's officials right now.
By the way… DeRosa is the ref that tossed the ball at a fan during the ECF. Don't know if that had anything to do with this… but it's worth noting, I suppose.