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Gary Neal
Dick Bavetta's streak is impressive, but he's no Cal Ripken Jr.
Dick Bavetta's streak is impressive, but he's no Cal Ripken Jr.

Referee Dick Bavetta is such great fun whether he's holding a ball as part of a skit with a team mascot, racing Charles Barkley or casually yukking it up with a superstar that you wish he could work another 2,633 consecutive games. The 74-year-old has not missed a game since making his NBA debut on Dec. 2, 1975, giving the league nearly 39 seasons of uninterrupted service. It's an amazing streak that is a tribute to Bavetta's health, determination and logistical wherewithal, the veteran referee having somehow conquered badly rerouted flights and closed airports to make every scheduled appearance. But let's please stop it with all the comparisons between...

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