Remembering Kobe Bryant: Veteran NBA Officials Look Back

NBA Referees
2 min readJan 28, 2020


With the tragic news of the passing of Kobe Bryant over the weekend, along with his daughter Gianna and 7 others, the NBRA asked some longtime NBA officials their thoughts about the NBA legend.

Here is what they said:

Danny Crawford

“My memory of Kobe is of a fierce competitor who even when he disagreed with a call, he did so in a very respectful way. As a player he was all business, and it was an enjoyable challenge to referee him. He will truly be missed. It was an honor to share the court with him.”

Bob Delaney

“ The power of sports is not only about points on the scoreboard and wins or losses. The games and the environment around sports is a place where we come together and create memories. Kobe and the NBA brought families together to watch games creating family memories and that is part of the feeling of loss that comes with his passing. I spoke with many NBA folks recently. We cried together, we recalled Kobe stories, his laugh, his greatness, his intense competitive spirit — it hurts. Kobe was a good guy, an amazing talent for sure…but a good person who had a kind soul.”

Bennett Salvatore

“I will always remember him as an authentic person. He never had time for BS. He wasn’t a whiner, he wasn’t a complainer. He certainly would come after you if he had a difference of opinion. He himself was always honest in his approach with referees. He appreciated your honesty as a referee, and your authenticity as a referee, in your dialogue with him. He was a true gladiator, and someone we’ll all miss very much.”

Steve Javie

“Most people didn’t know about how devout a Catholic man he was. I thought it was interesting that during his most trying times in his life, he turned to his faith. I think that would be so important for people, especially young people, to know about.”



NBA Referees

Encouraging communication, dialogue and transparency with NBA fans, while offering expertise from our elite group. Let’s talk. Official account of the NBA refs.