BIOGRAPHY AND WIKIPEDIA: TONY BROWN, REFEREE WHO WORKED NBA FINALS, CONFIRMED DEAD KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Saturday, October 22, 2022

BIOGRAPHY AND WIKIPEDIA: TONY BROWN, REFEREE WHO WORKED NBA FINALS, CONFIRMED DEAD

Tony Brown always embraced a challenge. 

He worked his way through Clark Atlanta University, when there was no scholarship available to him. He worked his way up the basketball officiating ladder, eventually becoming one of the NBA’s very best referees. And even in his final days of a fight with pancreatic cancer, he was still trying to help others.

Brown, who officiated more than 1,100 NBA games over almost two decades, died Thursday, his family announced. He was 55.

“Tony Brown was one of the most accomplished referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

“After his pancreatic cancer diagnosis early last year, Tony fought courageously through countless rounds of treatment to return to work this past season at the NBA Replay Center, demonstrating the dedication, determination and passion that made him such a highly respected official for 20 years. The entire NBA family mourns Tony’s passing and we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Tina; their children, Bailey, Basile and Baylen; and his fellow referees.”

Speaking with Brown about his battle with cancer hit home for me. He wanted to share his story about being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to raise awareness.

Which is exactly what I did in 2012 when I wrote about cancer’s impact on my family.

My mother died from an advanced cancer, melanoma, at the age of 56. She was diagnosed at 54, the same age as Brown was when he was diagnosed.

My oldest brother, Joe, died in 2010 from complications of advanced prostate cancer.

I was 49 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

During our first discussion, I remember telling Brown that the toughest part of my cancer ordeal was not the diagnosis and not the fear of the unknown of a disease that had ravaged my family.

It was the devastation I saw in my daughter’s eyes when I shared my diagnosis with her, a moment that brought me back to the anguish I felt when my mother told me of her advanced cancer prognosis.

It was pain Brown felt when he and his wife, Tina, had to break the news to their three kids, Bailey, Basile and Baylen.

“That, by far, was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had, because you always try to protect your kids, but this is something you can’t protect them from,” Brown said. “Just to relive it, now, at this moment, still makes me tear up.”

His NBA Finals referee debut came during the 2019-20 season, and he also helped officiate the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta that honored Historically Black College and Universities.

"Tony Brown was one of the most accomplished referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "The entire NBA family mourns Tony's passing."

Brown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, according to Silver, who added that the referee went through many rounds of treatment.

His resilience was shown through his "dedication, determination and passion that made him such a highly respected official for 20 years," Silver noted.

NBA legends are remembering the renowned referee's contributions to the game.

"Great ref but greater dude!" Los Angeles Lakers' Lebron James said in a social media post. "Loved when I ran on the court for warmups and he would be on the game that night! Your smile & laugh will be missed tremendously here in our sport!"

Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson also shared his condolences to the Brown's family.

"Rest in peace to veteran NBA referee Tony Brown! Thank you for everything you did for the game. Sending prayers to the entire Brown family!" Johnson wrote on social media.

Brown is survived by his wife and three children. His death comes after this year's NBA season began Tuesday.

"Our biggest thank you to our village of family and friends, near and far, old and new. Your love is immeasurable," said Brown's wife, Tina. "Many, many thanks to our NBRA and NBA family whose generosity is unmatched."

Tina Brown also thanked the Lustgarten Foundation and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, which are nonprofit organizations dedicated to research as well as providing resources and information to patients and their caregivers.

In 1989, Brown graduated from Clark Atlanta University, an HBCU, where he studied finance.


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