I made myself a promise before both NBA Conference Finals series began – do not get caught up in the officiating blame game. Right off the bat, with the Boston Celtics down 2-0 to the Miami Heat, I had a daunting task of getting through hundreds of Tweets and Facebook statuses during each game, as people blamed the officials for bad plays and terrible calls. My refuge was the incredible Western Conference Finals, of which I expected solid, entertaining basketball to define the series.
For the most part, that was true. But even last night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder procured the misery of Seattle sports fans with the Western Conference title, the refs couldn’t escape the blame, which is sad because this series was an instant classic. Most notably, it was that unlovable old curmudgeon Joey Crawford who once again set the gold standard. If you’re unfamiliar with Crawford, he is, more than likely, the worst official in all of sports.
That’s a bold claim, I know, because I watch baseball more than anything and Joe West is horrendous. But you can’t watch a single game that Crawford officiates without throwing your hands in the air and saying, “What the f*ck!” at least once. And if the NBA wanted to shed the stigma of being a rigged league with the dirtiest refs, David Stern would fire Crawford. It’s not like Stern hasn’t recognized how awful Crawford is in the past.
In the meantime, I want to celebrate the absolute worst thing about a sport that I love so much with this small sampling of his finest/most horrendous career moments. (Add your favorite omissions in the comments because God knows there are hundreds more.)