It was announced on Wednesday that one of the top and most likable referees calls it a career.
Danny Crawford (not related to another legendary NBA ref Joey Crawford, who retired after the 2015-16 season after 39 years in the NBA) is hanging up the stripes after a great 31 years blowing the whistle in the NBA.
Crawford worked a game in 23 consecutive NBA Finals — more than 30 Finals games in total — and has long been one of the league’s most respected officials.
Dan Crawford, one of the most accomplished referees in NBA history, is retiring.
Congrats to Danny on an incredible career! pic.twitter.com/yZYgPWof0m
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) August 2, 2017
Crawford is leaving the NBA without one of their most tenured and best referees heading into the 2017-18 season. He was one of the best lead officials in the league. He was respected by players and coaches alike, his presence on the court will be missed by most.
NBA players went to twitter to show their respects following his announcement.
Congrts Danny. Always had nothing but respect! https://t.co/IW0UwhvrrB
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) August 2, 2017
One of the best player refs in the game!!! Will def be missed!! Congrats Danny https://t.co/Xm9GB3YkP9
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) August 2, 2017
Crawford grew up in East Garfield Park on the West Side of Chicago. He was a basketball star at the now defunct Cregier High School. In 1976, Crawford graduated from Northeastern Illinois University. As a guard, Crawford played hoops for NEIU, averaging 18 points as a sophomore. He majored in physical education, with hopes of becoming a gym teacher.
Officiating was something he did on the side, for rec games and intramurals, to make a little extra cash while he was a student-teacher. He began to take it seriously in the late 1970s. He started with high schools, then junior college, and then Division 1 college basketball, where he officiated games in the Missouri Valley Conference. Crawford’s first NBA game came in the 1984–85 season. In 2016, Crawford officiated his third NBA All-Star Game.
The sport of basketball runs in the family. Crawford’s son, Drew, is a professional basketball player. He joined the Toronto Raptors for the 2016 NBA Summer League and was signed by the team, but was waived on October 22 after appearing in seven preseason games. Drew is now playing small forward for the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg of the German Bundesliga.
Danny Crawford will be missed in the NBA officiating games. Enjoy the rest of your life.