NBA referee Danny Crawford retires after 31 seasons

After 31 NBA seasons and more than 2,000 regular season games, referee Danny Crawford is calling it a career.

Crawford announced his retirement Wednesday through the NBA Referees Twitter account.

Dan Crawford, one of the most accomplished referees in NBA history, is retiring.

Crawford had worked 23 consecutive NBA Finals, including the final game of his career in June as the Warriors beat the Cavaliers to clinch the NBA championship. How long has Crawford been around? In the first of those Finals, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets knocked off Shaquille O’Neal and the Magic.

The veteran earned praise throughout the league for his work on the court. FanRagSports.com notes that in a 2015-16 survey asking NBA players to name the best referee, Crawford finished first by a wide margin. And following the announcement of Crawford’s retirement, NBA players checked in with their well wishes on social media.

For as much as Blake Griffin has already accomplished in his NBA career, we have yet to see him tap into his full potential for an entire season. It may not look that way when you consider he has led the Clippers in scoring each season since he’s been drafted — he’s also been their leader in usage rating in all but two seasons — but playing alongside Chris Paul has prevented Griffin from becoming the full-time point forward he seemed destined to be from the start.

Fortunately for Griffin, he has an opportunity to take over that role as he enters the first year of his $173 million extension. Not only is Paul now a member of the Rockets, the evolution of positionless basketball has paved the way for power forwards like him to be a team’s primary creator. While the Clippers acquired a pass-first point guard in Milos Teodosic this offseason to replace some of Paul’s production, it’s Griffin who will be expected to both facilitate and score in volume for them to compete with the best teams in the Western Conference.

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