Perhaps Tim Donaghy (right) learned his wicked left hook from years of fending off loan sharks. (Photos: Getty Images, SI)
Are you an NBA enthusiast or employee? Do you hate hearing piercing shrieks blare through your TV screen as if Gilbert Gottfried were planted on your living room couch? Is your name Tim Duncan?
If the answer to any of the three questions was "yes," then there's a good chance you've wanted to punch Joey Crawford in the face. He's the bald one who invented that odd Block Mambo dance, ejected Duncan for a giggle fit and routinely irritates coaches (see: the world) with his exaggerated antics and reassertions of his authority. But, menacing and screechy as he is, Crawford is revered as one of the league's best officials. So perhaps we should take it easy on Squeaky Mr. Clean.
And remember that opening questionnaire? Well, it appears gamblin' man and disgraced ex-ref Tim Donaghy (ask a Sacramento Kings fan who he is and you'll see a grown man sob) lived the dream a little over a decade ago. In Part Five of The Oregonian's series on NBA officiating, author John Canzano closes the piece with an amusing story (perhaps apocryphal) of Donaghy decking Crawford after a disagreement in a hotel lobby. And apparently there was a nearby wedding party (it's unclear if Crawford insisted on officiating that, too).
According to witnesses, Crawford yelled, "Let's go! Meeting's (expletive) starting!" Donaghy ignored him, pretending not to hear. Crawford again raised his voice, and again Donaghy pretended not to hear him.
"I'll admit," Donaghy said. "I was being a (jerk). Joe and I had been good friends, but we were arguing on this issue. We didn't see eye to eye and we'd had a bad argument on the telephone about it in which one of us hung up."
Crawford apparently had enough of the disrespect. He walked up to Donaghy and slapped him across the face. The left-handed Donaghy took one step back, wound up, and dropped Joe Crawford with a left hook.
Crawford spent the rest of the meeting with a bag of ice on his eye.
Ouch! Bruisin' the cue ball, I see.
But it's the final quote which speaks for itself. Thanks, Tommy Nunez Sr.
"We patched it up later. We apologized to each other," Donaghy said. "But I'll never forget, Tommy Nunez Sr. walks by me with Joe on the ground, doesn't even look at me, and just says, 'I've been waiting 20 years for somebody to knock him on his ass."