New York, NY (Sports Network) - NBA veteran official Greg Willard died after a
battle with cancer on Monday, passing away at the age of 54.
Willard, an NBA official for 24 seasons, was forced to step away from the game
during the 2012 NBA Playoffs, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
"The entire NBA family joins me in mourning the loss of one of our own, Greg
Willard," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "Greg touched all those with whom
he came in contact thanks to his extraordinary spirit, dedication and hard
work. As a Finals referee, he reached the highest level of his profession
while at the same time demonstrating a strong commitment to his family and his
community. Our thoughts are with his wife Laurie, their children and the rest
of the Willard family during this difficult time."
NBA officials will honor Willard by wearing wristbands or patches with his
jersey number 57 for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. The league will also
recognize the long-time referee with a moment of silence at all games Tuesday
Over a career that began in 1988, Willard officiated 1,494 regular-season
games, 136 playoff games, two NBA Finals games and the 2006 NBA All-Star Game.
The Sports Network