Dec 30, 2011, 12:45 PM EDT
Make all the “Dick Bavetta used to whistle George Mikan for fouls” jokes you want, this is pretty impressive.
Last night in Orlando, the 72-year-old (his birthday’s Dec. 10) whistleblower worked his 2,500th consecutive regular-season game.
Ruminate on that statistic for a second. And now consider this unimaginable appendage: Bavetta hasn’t missed an assignment, excluding 300 in the playoffs (28 straight years) and another 300 exhibitions, since he joined the league in 1975 — and hasn’t once gone postal.
Maybe soon Bavetta will step away from the game (it is nearing that time) but he has been one of the more steady refs for decades. Maybe Charles Barkley is faster. His longevity should be recognized and lauded.