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Longtime NBA ref Bavetta retiring

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Updated: 8/19 12:07 pm

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Dick Bavetta, who set an ironman streak among NBA referees, is retiring after 39 years, the league announced Tuesday.

Bavetta's 2,635 consecutive regular-season games officiated is a record.

"Dick's dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials," NBA president Rod Thorn said in a statement. "We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement."

Bavetta, 74, made his debut on Dec. 2, 1975, at Madison Square Garden in New York and never missed an assignment in his career. He worked 270 postseason games, including 27 in the NBA Finals, and three All-Star Games.

In a statement, Bavetta said he was "most proud of never having missed an assigned game, be it exhibition, regular season or playoffs, throughout my entire career." He called his career "a great run."

Bavetta's ironman streak lasted three games longer that Cal Ripken Jr.'s famed MLB record.

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