Ironman NBA Ref: Dick Bavetta Officiates 2,633rd Straight Game

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By James Patrick Quizon | April 3, 2014 1:42 PM EST

NBA referee Dick Bavetta officiated his 2,633rd consecutive NBA regular season game during the Brooklyn Nets New York Nets match-up on Wednesday night to pass Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. for the longest streak participated in American pro sports.

The streak was a special one for the long-time NBA ref.

"Well it means that I am here and alive and happy," Bavetta told ESPN.COM. "And it doesn't end here as they say. After tonight there is another game. That is what we (do). I am just blessed that the ironman streak has been broken here (at Madison Square Garden), I couldn't ask for something any better."

Bavetta was given a commemorative plaque by Rod Thorn, NBA’s president of basketball operations, during the Nets-Knicks game in New York.

Even more impressive is that Bavetta is already 74-year-old and has been officiating since 1975. He has also called 270 playoff games, 27 NBA Finals games and 3 All-Star games in 29 consecutive seasons.

"I can't think of any reason unless it's an act of God with weather problems and things like that, but I've been blessed by the good Lord above with good health," he added. "So that has enabled me to stay healthy over the years and I think it's symbolic of our profession."

The former MLB shortstop Ripken Jr. ended his 17-year streak at 2,632 games in 1998.

Will the ironman ref continue calling the games?

"Maybe get involved with the league office in some way or maybe come back," Bavetta said of the future.

"I haven't really decided. ... I usually sit down with my family after the season is over, with my two daughters and my wife, and decide what we are going to do.

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