ESPN's Steve Javie thriving while analyzing NBA referees

ESPN NBA officiating analyst Steve Javie since the '12 NBA finals has been tasked with helping viewers understand the rationale behind referee decisions and to “explain whether he agrees,” according to Sopan Deb of the N.Y. TIMES. Javie worked in the NBA. until ‘11, when knee issues “forced his retirement.” Since then, he has "provided on-air officiating insights for ESPN and ABC." When he started, it was still “seen as an unusual innovation” for sports broadcasts. A friend of Javie’s, former NFL referee Mike Pereira, had started practicing for network broadcasts by doing NFL games the year before and had “received positive reviews.” Javie’s ESPN career began with some "SportsCenter" hits but he said that he "didn’t have any media training." Now he called the control room, from which he shares his views, the “biggest sports bar without a bar.” At first, he was "nervous about commenting on his former co-workers." For Javie, professional empathy for officials "is a must for a former referee on television, since crowds, coaches and players rarely provide any.” Javie: “I feel a little more comfortable being able to say why I disagree. And I think that’s what ESPN wants. They want my opinion.” Each year, Javie does “about 40 games,” including playoffs and the NBA Finals. Away from the control room, Javie “doesn’t spend any time watching basketball.” He is not “a fan of the sport -- it’s just business” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/20).

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