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Referee Dick Bavetta retiring after record 2,635 straight games

Official release
Posted Aug 20, 2014 6:26 AM

NEW YORK -- NBA President, Basketball Operations Rod Thorn announced today that longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta will be retiring after 39 years of service.

Bavetta, who began his NBA career on Dec. 2, 1975, at Madison Square Garden in a game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics finished with a record 2,635 consecutive regular season games officiated, having never missed an assigned game throughout his entire career. Bavetta also officiated 270 Playoff games including 27 Finals games.

"Dick's dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials," said Thorn. "We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement."

Bavetta worked three NBA All-Star Games (1989, 1995 and 2006) and was the first NBA referee selected to officiate the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. Bavetta also refereed the 1997 McDonald's Championship in Paris, 1993 Mexico Challenge and 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," said Bavetta.

"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."

Prior to joining the NBA, Bavetta was an official with the Eastern League (CBA) for nine years, as well as the Rucker League, FIBA, Jersey Shore Basketball League, and both the Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York City.

Bavetta, a Brooklyn, New York native, attended Power Memorial Academy and also attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He is a member of the New York City Catholic High School Hall of Fame, the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and received the National ProAm Lifetime Achievement Award.

Throughout his career, Bavetta has been actively involved in many charitable endeavors. In 1986 he established "The Bavetta Scholarships." The program, which he personally finances, provides parochial high school scholarships for minority children. He also has volunteered with the Double H-Hole in the Woods Ranch working with critically ill children since 1992. Additionally he is actively involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Dick and his wife Paulette live on their ranch in Ocala, Florida. Daughter Christine works in finance and lives in Manhattan. Daughter Michele, her husband John and their children Brendan and Sydney live in Brewster, New York.

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