Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown dies at 55 after battle with cancer


Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown died Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the league said. He was 55 years old.

“We are and have been buoyed by the constant outpouring of love and support throughout this journey in building strength, acceptance and peace,” his wife Tina Brown said in a statement. published by the NBA. “We ask that you join us in this spirit as we prepare to celebrate Tony’s life.

Over 20 seasons, Brown refereed more than 1,100 regular season games and 35 playoff games, according to the league.

His debut as an NBA Finals referee came during the 2019-20 season, and he also helped referee the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta that honored colleges and universities historically. black.

“Tony Brown was one of the most accomplished referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “The entire NBA family mourns the passing of Tony.”

Brown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, according to Silver, who added that the referee had undergone numerous rounds of treatment.

His resilience showed through his “dedication, determination and passion that made him a highly respected official for 20 years,” Silver noted.

NBA legends remember the famous referee’s contributions to the game.

“Great ref but bigger guy!” Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers said in a social media post. “Loved it when I ran onto the pitch for warm ups and he would be on the game that night! Your smile and laughter will be sorely missed here in our sport!”

Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson also shared his condolences to the Brown family.

“Rest in peace to veteran NBA referee Tony Brown! Thank you for everything you have done for the game. Sending prayers to the entire Brown family! Johnson wrote on social media.

Brown is survived by his wife and three children. His death comes after the start of this year’s NBA season on Tuesday.

“Our greatest thanks to our village of family and friends, near and far, old and new. Your love is immeasurable,” Brown’s wife Tina said. “A big thank you to our NBRA and NBA family whose generosity is unparalleled.”

In 1989, Brown graduated from Clark University in Atlanta, an HBCU, where he studied finance.

During his high school years at Amos P. Godby in Tallahassee, Florida, Brown played point guard and earned All-State basketball honors. He made captain his senior year and led his teammates to become state runners-up in 1984 and district champions in 1985.

Brown’s family is asking people to contribute to the Tony Brown Basketball Scholarship Endowment at his alma mater to honor his memory. Over $80,000 of the $100,000 goal had been raised by early Friday.


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