Joey Crawford reveals fallout from David Stern after the Tim Duncan fiasco
Joey Crawford is one of the most well-known game officials in the history of the NBA. He has had his fair share of controversies, but perhaps none bigger than his infamous altercation with San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan back in 2007.
In a recent interview with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the 66-year-old recounts the notorious dispute, which according to Crawford, warranted a very harsh telling off at the hands of then-commissioner David Stern.
For a little backstory, the controversy all started when Crawford ejected Duncan in a regular season contest while the latter was sitting on the bench. The four-decade long NBA referee himself conveyed how the events transpired according to his own memory.
“The Duncan incident was in 2007,” Crawford explained. “Duncan was sitting on the bench laughing. And I threw him. That laugh bothered me. I thought it was incredibly disrespectful. But I knew the minute it happened I was gonna be in trouble.”
Most considered Crawford’s actions to be arrogant and an ultimate showing of abuse of power. Although Crawford himself had his reasons, he was definitely not on the same page with commissioner Stern.
“I just stood there and took it,” said Crawford. “Before I went up there, our union rep told me, ‘Joey, no matter what [Stern] says, just stand there and be quiet.’ So, Stern’s killing me, I’m saying, ‘He’s right, he’s right,’ but then finally I said, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute. What did you want me to do? Wait until Nellie called me a f—ing a–h— and then throw him?’ and Stern said, ‘Yes! Then at least I could have defended you, you moron!’ Stern told me, ‘Don’t ever do that again,’ and I said, ‘OK,’ but then, of course, I did.”
Crawford was suspended by the league for the remainder of that season, and has since claimed that the incident “changed his life.”