NBA Referee Stevie Javie Retiring After 25 Years of Officiating

Noticed as one of the top referees of the past 15 years, Stevie Javie is hanging up his whistle after 25 years as an NBA referee, according to ESPN.

Despite referees agreeing on a five-year contract earlier this week, solidifying that they would be on the court as soon as the lockout is over, Javie decided that his legs wouldn’t allow him to referee in his 26th season. He’s retiring because of an arthritic knee.

The injury caused Javie to miss the end of the 2009-10 season but he returned in the fall. He filed for retirement after doctors told him another season wasn’t realistic.

NBA referees have to file for retirement within 30 days of the last NBA Finals game if he doesn’t plan to return. Javie officiated two of the NBA Finals games, an honor only given to veteran officials who have the utmost respect.

“I would like to stay at it and end it on my own terms, but in a way I feel as if I’m doing that in that I got to work that 25th year,” he said. “Adrenaline is an amazing drug. The two weeks after the season, the knee was so painful I couldn’t believe it. My doctor said it was because the adrenaline from the season had finally worn off. Every time I start to think maybe I still could do it, my knee has let me know, one way or another, that I can’t.”

Since he’s done officiating in the NBA, Javie plans to work on the foundation that was started by him and his wife.

“I would like to keep a hand in basketball, as a consultant for the NBA or somewhere else, but I also have the foundation that my wife and I started and I’m looking forward to doing more with that,” he said.

The Javie Foundation was started 13 years ago to assist abused and abandoned kids as well as homeless men in the Philadelphia area. Bob Delaney also made the decision to retire after reaching the 25-year refereeing milestone, a decision he announced at the start of last season.