One of the most stable referees in league history is calling it quits. The San Antonio Spurs end up being the last dynasty Dick Bavetta will officiate.
Bavetta retiring from the NBA after 39 years
Naturally referees don’t get much attention by NBA fans until they make a controversial call, and that’s a shame. What Dick Bavetta has accomplished in 39 years may never be duplicated. Since December 2, 1975 he has never missed an officiating assignment. In total he worked 2,635 regular season games, 270 playoff games and 27 Finals games. That doesn’t even included his three stints during the All-Star break and the fabled 1992 Summer Olympics and the first appearance of the Dream Team. A true Iron Man at a job that is deceptively demanding physically and mentally.
The San Antonio Spurs organization knows this well. They’ve had Bavetta as a witness to their rise to greatness since it all began 15 years ago. Back in 1999, he was 59-years old when the team won their first championship. For idea of what that means, Tim Duncan was a spry 23, Manu Ginobili was 21 and Tony Parker was still in high school at 17. Even the great Gregg Popovich still had a full head of hair. It’s a true testament to the longevity of the Spurs that Bevetta officiated them to championships in three different decades.
His kind will be truly missed.