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Joe Crawford

March 9, 2023

Joe Crawford is a retired NBA referee, active in the league from 1977 to 2016. During his career, he officiated over 2500 regular-season games, 313 playoff games, and 50 NBA final games, which was more than any other active referee in the league. Joey officiated his 2,000th NBA game between the Lakers and 76ers in 2005.

Joe was born in Haverford and graduated from Cardinal O’Hara. He officiated high school basketball games in Pennsylvania from 1970 to 1977 as well as games in the Eastern Basketball Association.  In addition to his referee career, Joe was also active in off-court mentoring programs, including Next Level Referee Training, in conjunction with the men’s basketball team camp at Villanova University. For the NBA, he was Referee Development Performance Director, mentoring and developing young officials. Joe has also participated in Basketball Without Borders events in India, Japan and Serbia.

There was a period during his NBA career that Joe recognized his life was challenged, and he “didn’t always lean on my faith unfortunately to get me through those times.” While officiating a game in 2007, Joe called 2 technical fouls on Tim Duncan from the Spurs. What came next changed his career and life, the story of which he shares during his talks.

Joe lives in Newtown Square, with his wife, Mary. He has three children and several grandchildren.

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