Referee Dick Bavetta to retire from NBA duty after 39 years of service

Referee Dick Bavetta #27 watches a play between the Houston Rockets and the Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center on December 4, 2013
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Longstanding NBA referee Dick Bavetta announces that he is retiring from the game, having provided the league with 39 years of service.

Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta has announced that he is due to retire from the game, having officiated in the league for 39 years.

Bavetta looked after his first encounter in 1975 and has now taken control of 2,635 regular-season games, without missing a single planned fixture.

"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 honour and the privilege of representing them for 39 wonderful years," said Bavetta in a statement, according to the official NBA website.

"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."

Such is the respect held for the referee, he was chosen to officiate 270 playoff games, including 27 finals.

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