The NBA honored long-time NBA referee Dick Bavetta prior to the New York Knicks-Brooklyn Nets game at Madison Square Garden for his longevity on April 2. The game, which the Knicks won 110-81, was the 2,633rd consecutive regular season game that Bavetta has officiated.
Bavetta passed former Baltimore 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. Ripken set the consecutive games played record of 2,632 in 1998.
"Well it means that I am here and alive and happy," the 74-year old Bavetta said when he was asked what the streak meant to him.
Bavetta, one of the best all-time NBA officials, began officiating NBA games in 1975 after failing to make the cut at NBA tryouts for nine straight years. He has worked 270 playoff games in 29 straight seasons. He also has officiated 27 NBA Finals games, three All-Star games and the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.
Bavetta, Brooklyn, N.Y. native, played at St. Francis College and is a member of the New York Basketball Hall-of-Fame.