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Things that were better in the 1970s: NBA refs

It is extremely the offseason, and nothing illustrates that better than Wednesday’s letter, in which we documented our attempted contact with Adam Silver.

Today, we’re headed further down the desire path of summer content.

On a Grip-related rabbit hole the other day, we watched all of Game 7 of the 1976 Western Conference Finals, between Golden State and Phoenix.

Storylines abounded: Rick Barry’s toupee; Ricky Sobers’ right hook that ruffled Rick Barry’s toupee; and so on, but those are stories for another day.

One thing that stood out above the rest? How awesome, animated, confident and bell-bottomed the refs of the mid-1970s were, as seen in the GIF above.

It seems like, back then, the refs had much more liberty to make themselves a part of the show and, boy, did they seize that chance.

Behold the most extra travel call that we have ever seen:

When a ref does something theatrical nowadays, it makes the rounds on every sports blog imaginable.

Back then, a three-part choreography which covered 10 feet and two emphatic downward left-handed air stabs sandwiched between an arm bar followed by an incriminating point, was just called an and-one:

Oh, and you know how picky NBA players are in the modern game about bounce backs between free throws?

Try dealing with a mean softball pitch coming right at your face!

(Pretty sure the first lesson at referee training camp back in the day was on how to perfect this stylish over-under motion):

Those were just a handful of our favorite moments.

We took the liberty of slicing every little groove into a three-minute video, which you can watch and help support us by clicking here (or view below).

(There’s also a quick clip at 2:28 of future NBA player Jon Barry mopping up the floor as a little sports kid.)


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