Culture of Hoops

Ref Dick Bavetta breaks Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak

Image courtesy of Michael E. Lee/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Michael E. Lee/Flickr.

Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories on the web mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton

Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta was honored before the Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks game by the NBA for officiating in his 2,633rd consecutive regular season game.

Bavetta passed former Major League Baseball and Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr.’s ironman streak and was presented with a commemorative plaque and basketball by Rod Thorn, the NBA’s president of basketball operations.

“Well it means that I am here and alive and happy,” Bavetta said about what he thinks of his streak. “And it doesn’t end here as they say. After tonight there is another game. That is what we (do). I am just blessed that the ironman streak has been broken here (at Madison Square Garden), I couldn’t ask for something any better.”

“I can’t think of any reason unless it’s an act of God with weather problems and things like that, but I’ve been blessed by the good Lord above with good health,” he added. “So that has enabled me to stay healthy over the years and I think it’s symbolic of our profession.”

Bavetta, 74, who is a member of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, began officiating NBA games in 1975 and has worked 270 playoff games in 29 straight seasons. He has officiated 27 NBA Finals games and three All-Star Games. Bavetta also was the first NBA referee selected to officiate the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. ESPN

This is an amazing achievement by one of the best officials in sports history. I can’t think of a hyperbole that puts into perspective how astronomical this record is. A 74-year-old man is running the courts with the best athletes in the world. What is his training regiment? 

He almost defeated Charles Barkley in a footrace at NBA All-Star Weekend in 2007.


By any measure, the man is a legend and a testament to what’s possible if you dedicate yourself to your craft. – AL

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