Skip to main content

Retired NBA Referee Names The Toughest Players To Officiate


After 31 years of officiating the greatest basketball players in the world, veteran NBA referee Danny Crawford has decided to call it quits. Considered on the league's most respected officials, Crawford reffed 23 straight Finals before announcing his retirment on August 2nd.

But it's not necessarily his retirement that has captured some headlines lately, but rather the comments he made after.

In a sit down with the Chicago Tribune, Crawford revealed a list of the toughest players to oficiate.

For active players, Crawford named Russell Westbrook and James Harden as the toughest to ref. For anybody who knows how Russ and Harden play, this likely comes as no surprise.

Scroll to Continue


Harden is probably the best in the league at drawing foul shots, as he finds a unique way to create contact when he drives to the rim.And Westbrook? Well, sometimes he just goes so fast, it can be understandably hard to referees to see what's going on.

Those two stars weren't the only guys Crawford listed, however.

He revealed the All-Time number one hardest player to officiate: Shaq.

Shaq is a pretty big dude. In his playing days, it was hard for him to go up without creating some kind of contact. As a defender, he was almost impossible to stop unless you gave him some physical resistance in the paint. Shaq, however, may not agree with how Crawford has called his play over the years. He took to Twitter to jokingly express his feelings on Crawford's retirement:

This funny jab by Shaq no doubt gave Danny a good chuckle. Even if Shaq might not agree, NBA refs are some of the best in the business. It's always nice to get some thoughts on the league from a different side of it. In this case, we got some confirmation on what kinds of players are the toughest to officiate.

It's always nice to get some thoughts on the league from a different side of things. And thanks to Danny Crawford, we got a little glimpse into the mind of an NBA Referee.