Monday December 10th, 2012

Dick Bavetta and The Raptor in 2006. (Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) Dick Bavetta and The Raptor in 2006. (Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Andy Gray

Dick Bavetta, who refereed his first NBA game in 1975, celebrates his 73rd birthday on Monday. Here is a look back at the league's oldest ref in action.

Bavetta speaks with an angry Shaquille O'Neal. (John W. McDonough/SI) Bavetta speaks with an angry Shaquille O'Neal during the 1995 Finals. (John W. McDonough/SI)

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Bavetta speaks with Michael Jordan. (Vincent Laforet/ALLSPORT) Bavetta speaks with Michael Jordan in 1998. (Vincent Laforet/ALLSPORT)

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Bavetta tries to calm down an irate Matt Geiger during the 2001 NBA Finals. (AP/Rusty Kennedy) Bavetta tries to calm down an irate Matt Geiger during the 2001 NBA Finals. (AP/Rusty Kennedy)

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Bavetta shares a tender moment with Tim Duncan. (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images) Bavetta shares a tender moment with Tim Duncan. (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Bavetta and Barkley compete to see who's faster at the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) Bavetta and Barkley compete to see who's faster at the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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Bavetta is honored by the Nets after reffing his 2,135th career game. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) Bavetta is honored by the Nets after reffing his 2,135th career game. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Bavetta feels the wrath of Kobe during a 2009 Lakers-Thunder game. (AP/Mark Terrill) Bavetta feels the wrath of Kobe during a 2009 Lakers-Thunder game. (AP/Mark Terrill)

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Bavetta gets in the middle of the action during a tense moment in a Heat-Hawks game. (Doug Benc/Getty Images) Bavetta gets in the middle of the action during a tense moment in a Heat-Hawks game. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

*****For more historic sports photos, NBA and otherwise, visit the SI Photo Blog and follow Andy Gray on Twitter.

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