2013 Gold Whistle Award Recipient: Bill LeMonnierFor Release February 6, 2014

Joe Crawford Named
Gold Whistle Recipient

RACINE, Wis. — Veteran NBA referee Joe Crawford was selected by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Board of Directors as the 2014 recipient of the Gold Whistle Award, which is officiating’s highest honor.

The award, which is given to a person or organization for contributions to the officiating industry, will be presented on July 29 during the Celebrate Officiating Gala at the annual NASO Summit. This year’s Summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque, N.M.

Crawford, 62, of Newtown Square, Pa., is the 27th recipient of the award and the third with NBA ties, following retired referees Tommy Nunez (1999) and Bob Delaney (2003).

“I’m still speechless,” said Crawford after hearing the news from NASO President Barry Mano. “I told my wife (Mary), ‘It’s not too often that I’m at a loss for words.’ But Barry’s call blew me away.”

“Joe Crawford is recognized the world over as a premier basketball referee in the NBA. That is well deserved,” Mano said. “Few work as hard as he does at the craft. Joe is receiving the Gold Whistle Award not for his prowess on the hardwoods but rather because through his dedication to officiating he has caused those of us in this endeavor to feel proud.”

In addition to being one of the NBA’s most high-profile referees, Crawford assists others in a number of ways. Crawford has been to several Summits as an attendee and panelist. He participates in a reading program sponsored by the NBA Referees Association. He and several other current and former NBA referees are clinicians at a camp for bourgeoning referees. But all of the officials donate their fees from that event. Crawford and his wife also organized and operated a girls’ AAU basketball program before turning it over to others to manage.

“We try to keep (donations and volunteer activities) low-key,” Crawford said.

The man who has worked more postseason games than any referee in NBA history said he learned the value of generosity from his father, the late former MLB umpire Shag Crawford.

“My father used to say to me, ‘You have to grow (as an official) but you also have to give back.’ I’ve always been a big believer in doing that,” he said. “If referees hold each other accountable, things are better.”

Mano praised Crawford for adapting his philosophy “to be of the ‘new school’ while not completely relinquishing his ‘old school’ underpinning. He has taken his celebrity status and used it to support other officials, to support charitable undertakings and to support kids in their quest for education and reading skills.

“I can think of few more deserving recipients than Joey,” Mano said.

The Gold Whistle Award is presented annually by NASO. Those considered are individuals or groups that have made significant contributions to the betterment of officiating, exhibit a high degree of integrity and ethics and other qualities that are held in high regard by the industry. Candidates must have a consistent record of presenting officiating in a positive light as well as exhibiting a “service above self” attitude. Public service to officiating, having a motivating effect on others and/or strong community involvement are considered.



Contact: Bill Topp
NASO Vice President of Publishing
and Management Services
Referee Enterprises, Inc.

262-632-5448 | 262-632-5460 (fax) | NASO.ORG