The NBA is a fraternity albeit amongst the players, coaches or referees. And when one of them departs the earthly realm it’s felt all around the league. Especially when you’re as well-respected and well-liked longtime NBA official Tony Brown. On Thursday, the aforementioned Brown lost his courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Brown an HBCU graduate of Clark Atlanta University, spent 20 years as a member of the zebra crew. He officiated 1,110 games in the regular season and 35 in the postseason.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke highly of Brown in his remarks following his death.
“Tony Brown was one of the accomplishments referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues. After his pancreatic cancer diagnosis early last year, Tony fought courageously through countless rounds of treatment to return to work this past season at the NBA Replay Center, demonstrating the dedication, determination, and passion that made him such a highly respected official for 20 years. The NBA family mourns Tony’s passing and we send our deepest condolences to his wife Tina; their children, Bailey, Basile and Baylen; and his fellow referees.”
Brown was considered a man of integrity and decency, not only in his on-court work, but also off the court.
Brown’s Wife Thanks Everyone For Their Outpouring Of Love And Support:
Even as she and the Brown family mourn the loss of Tony, his wife Tina made sure to thank everyone for the overwhelming love, support and condolences during their time of bereavement.
“We are and have been sustained by the consistent outpouring of love and support through this journey in developing strength, acceptance and peace. We ask that you join us in that spirit as we prepare to celebrate Tony’s life. Our biggest thank you to our village of family and friends, near and far, old and new. Your love is immeasurable. Thanks to the Lustgarten Foundation and PanCan. Keep striving for the cures. Many, many thanks to our NRBA and NBA family whose generosity is unmatched. And a very special thanks to the Emory/Bridgeway Hospice Unit. Your compassion and care went above and beyond. We are forever grateful!”
Brown’s Resume Stretches Across Many Basketball Platforms:
Prior to his arrival as an NBA official, the late Brown worked in both the NBA G-League, CBA and WNBA. During that timeframe he officiated the 2002 WNBA Finals, 2002 WNBA All-Star Game and 2001 CBA Finals.
From the time Brown began officiating NBA games he was considered one of the best and well-liked officials amongst the players. Of the 35 playoff games Brown, worked, the 2020 NBA Finals which took place in the “NBA Disney Bubble,” standout because of the unprecedented times of the world and country amidst a global pandemic.
Brown also officiated the 2021 NBA All Star Game which took place in Atlanta. The game honored HBCUs, and piggybacked the initiative following the police killing of George Floyd in May of 2020.