Guest blogger: Erin Crawford.
My name is Erin Crawford. I am the daughter of NBA referee, Joe Crawford. My dad is probably the most hated (by fans) official in the NBA due to his no-nonsense attitude while he works. Yes, officiating is his job. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Is that his real job?” Yes, it is his real job and he has been officiating in the NBA for 33 years (since before I was born). My father may be the most hated official in the NBA, but he is respected by the players and they listen to him, in my opinion. Most importantly, he is the most lovable father and grandfather I know. There is never a time where we don’t hang up the phone with each other and say, “I love you!” Every greeting and goodbye is done with a kiss to all his girls and grandson (I am one of three girls and he has one grandson and six granddaughters).
When asked about my childhood and growing up in the NBA, I say it was fantastic (no pun intended). I went to games, All-Star games, met Magic, Larry and Isaiah (Never Mike, which I still get angry about), and many others. It was amazing! Of course I grew up playing basketball and played all the way up until I graduated college. My dad couldn’t make many games, but he always called to check up on the score and what my stats were. My dad always made me practice at the playground, play against the boys and shoot as many jumpers as I could on a daily basis. If it wasn’t for me father pushing me, I would not have had the great career I had in high school or college. In the off-season, he would coach my AAU teams and we would travel together. Those were the times I cherished the most since I got to spend time with him. We have so many memories, most are based around basketball, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all I knew and it’s all I wanted to know.
My dad did not see my sisters and I play sports often, he did not see us off to proms or make it to father-daughter dances. He missed graduations and family parties, but he made it up to us, always. My sister Megan and I adored (I still do) Charles Barkley as kids. My dad missed Megan’s high school father-daughter dance so my dad flew us to Phoenix to see Chuck play when he was with the Suns. In 2002, when the All-Star game was in Philly, my mom and dad ran into Chuck at an event. My dad, knowing how much I loved him, had him call my cell phone to say “hi” and “good luck” in my basketball game the next day. I never brag much about what my dad does or who he is or who I have met, but I do brag about Charles Barkley calling my cell phone just to say hi! My dad took my sisters and I, and of course my mom (his wife of 38 years), to the 1992 All-Star game in Orlando, Florida. It was the year Magic and Isaiah were set to retire and the year the news hit about Magic having HIV. I remember crying hysterically when I heard the news; I was 12 at the time. Later on that year, I got to hug Magic and tell him how awesome he was. I’ll never forget what he said to me either. I had on a sweat shirt that had a picture of him on it with the words, “Slammin and Jammin”. I walked by him and he said, “Nice Shirt”! He is such a great guy. That All-Star game was one of the best ever and I was lucky enough to see it live and be surrounded by so many superstars. Another great memory I have is being at Madison Square Garden for the Eastern Conference Semi’s when Reggie Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds. Being from Philly where our fans are known to be insane is nothing like the New Yorkers during that game. Of course Reggie scoring those points was my dad’s fault.
I have been blessed by the life I have been given. I was given this life only because of how hard my father worked to support us. My dad was a mailman in Wayne, PA. My mom was home with my sisters, while he delivered mail and refereed high school games at night to make some extra cash to support them. His passion and love of his second job landed him where he is today. When I hear people bad mouth him and talk crap about him, I just laugh (well, now I do – when I was younger I would get so mad). I don’t let the media or fans get me angry anymore because I realized they probably or most definitely never reffed a basketball game in their entire life, let alone an NBA game.
AMAZING IS BELIEF - If you believe in yourself , you will be successful.
Great advice given to me from my amazing father.
*Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the LadyBallers Organization/Social Network.
Photo Credit/Info (Please do NOT use these photos without permission from Erin Crawford & The LadyBallers)
Photo #1 - Erin and her father (2009)
Photo #2 - Erin and her father (1983)
Photo #3 - Erin and her father (2006)
Photo #4 - Joe with his granddaughter (2009)
Photo #5 - Erin, her sisters and Magic (1992)
Photo #6 - Erin, her sisters and Drazen Petrovic (RIP)
Photo #7 - Erin, her sisters and Isiah Thomas (1992)
Photo #8 - Erin, her sisters and Chuck Daly (RIP)
Photo #9 - Erin, her sisters and Clyde Drexler
Photo #10 - Erin, her sisters and John Sally
Photo #11 - Crawford Family (2009)