Big night tonight. The Washington Capitals begin their post-season with a game against the New York Rangers in D.C. while the Washington Wizards begin their off-season after their final match of the year against the Cavaliers in Cleveland. The Wiz Kids will one day be in the playoffs, next year according to John Wall, but until then, fans will have to be content with marking May 17 down on their calendars (when the NBA’s Draft Lottery will be held), while watching 16 other teams compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Speaking of the NBA playoffs, I dropped some opinionated knowledge on ESPN.com about who will shine in the post-season … check it out if you will.
On Monday, 71-year old NBA referee Dick Bavetta called the Wizards home finale against the Boston Celtics. Known as the Cal Ripken Jr. of referees, Bavetta has been calling games since 1975 and has never missed an assignment. Going into this season, Bavetta had called an NBA-record 2,434 games that he’s obviously continued to build on in this his 36th season.
Watching him work a game from the sideline is an interesting experience. He barely makes a sound. Imagine that, a silent NBA referee. Bavetta doesn’t scream, he doesn’t even talk, much. Instead, he opts to communicate with the other members of his crew with hand signals and gestures, as well as getting players into their correct position in the same manner. I imagine he does it to conserve energy. Regardless of reason, the effective use of such a method conveys the respect that comes with time and age. There have been reports that the league would prefer Bavetta to retire, as they did not assign the dean of referees to work the NBA Finals last season. With clouds of a potential lockout looming, this season could really be the last for the legend.