AUBURN HILLS, UNITED STATES: Tim Duncan (R) of the San Antonio Spurs tries to talk with offical Joe Crawford (C) as head coach Gregg Popovich (L) listens during their game against the Detroit Pistons during the first half of game three of the NBA Finals 14 June, 2005 at The Palace in Auburn Hill, Michigan. (JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

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NBA Ref Joey Crawford Was Forced Into Therapy After 2007 Tim Duncan Ejection

Before he could return to the court, David Stern ordered Crawford to see a psychiatrist.

In one of the most infamous moments of the 2007 NBA season, NBA referee Joey Crawford ejected Tim Duncan of the Spurs for laughing at him while sitting on the bench.


In a new piece on ESPN by Jackie McMullan, Crawford reveals that the incident really was no laughing matter and was actually an example of the underlying mental health issues he was going through at the time.

Following the incident with Duncan (who claimed afterward that Crawford had challenged him to a fight following the ejection), then-NBA commissioner David Stern suspended the referee for the rest of the year and the playoffs.

Then, privately, Stern ordered Crawford to go see a Park Avenue psychiatrist. Eventually, Crawford ended up under the care of a Philadelphia therapist named Joel Fish who helped him work through his anger issues and allowed Crawford to continue his career as an NBA official.

“Whenever I had one of those blow-ups, I was never happy with myself,” Crawford says in the piece. “I would come down quick, back to being myself, and I’d say, ‘Why did I say that to my wife? Why did I say that to my daughter?’ I wanted to know why I did those things. Joel really helped me understand. He showed me a way to get through it.”

Read the full story at ESPN