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Norm Drucker

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Norm Drucker

Norm Drucker
Pictured 1969
Born (1920-07-04)July 4, 1920[1]
New York City, New York
Died February 6, 2015(2015-02-06) (aged 94)
Nationality American
Occupation NBA referee (1953–1969) and (1976–1977), NBA Supervisor of Officials (1977–1981), ABA referee (1969–1976), ABA Supervisor of Officials (1969–1974)
Spouse(s) Shirley

Norm Drucker (July 4, 1920 – February 6, 2015) was a major influence in professional Bob Cousy, Dolph Schayes and Bob Pettit in the 1950s, to Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Bill Russell in the 1960s, to Julius Erving, Rick Barry, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier in the 1970s and to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in the 1980s.

Life and career

Drucker was born in New York City, New York. He was hired as a referee by the National Basketball Association in 1953.[2] By the early 60's he was regularly officiating two to four games in the NBA Finals each season. In 1969, when the two-year-old American Basketball Association was raiding the NBA for talent, he took the risk, along with three other NBA "lead" referees[3]Joe Gushue, Earl Strom and John Vanak — and jumped to the financially uncertain ABA.[4] Their contracts were the first multi-year officiating contracts in pro basketball history. Such was Drucker's stature and reputation, that his total salary, as a referee and Supervisor of Officials, along with a $25,000 signing bonus, was more than double the average NBA player's salary.[5] It made him, at that time, the highest paid referee in the history of basketball. Within a year, all other pro basketball officials benefited, as their salaries more than doubled.[6] As a result, officiating professional basketball evolved from a part-time 'second job',[7] to a full-time career, with greatly improved working conditions, benefits and pension plans.[8][9] It was the first time in history that a league had promoted the quality of its officials[10][11] which improved the ABA's credibility,[12] and as a by-product enhanced the public's interest in, and respect for referees.[13]

Norm Drucker ready for the center jump between the Philadelphia 76ers' Wilt Chamberlain (left) and the Boston Celtics' Bill Russell, to start the deciding game of the 1967 NBA Eastern Conference finals. The 76ers won and ended the Celtics string of eight consecutive NBA championships.
In the ABA, Drucker officiated and also served as the league's Supervisor of Officials.[14] With the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, Drucker was one of only a handful of ABA referees hired by the NBA to return.[15] When he retired after the 1976-77 NBA season[16] to become the NBA's Supervisor of Officials, his 24 consecutive seasons of officiating was the longest string in pro basketball history. It remains the record for longest tenure for a pro referee among those whose entire career was during the era of only two referees per game.[17] During that span he officiated 6 All-Star Games (3 NBA, 3 ABA), a higher total than any other official in pro basketball history other than Mendy Rudolph and Earl Strom both of whom officiated seven.[18] When he retired, his total of 38 NBA and ABA championship round games officiated was the second highest in pro basketball history.

In his 24-year officiating career (17 in the NBA and 7 in the ABA), Drucker was well known for his even-handed officiating for visiting teams in an era when many officials were criticized as "homers"[19] - favoring the home team.[20] In a 1969 interview with Newsday's Stan Isaacs, he said, "I think there is a part of me deep down that enjoys calling a foul against the home team and then standing out there alone, almost defying the cries of the hometown mob."[21][22][23]

For 14 seasons, from 1963 through 1977, Drucker along with Mendy Rudolph and Earl Strom, were generally recognized as the top referees in pro basketball.[24][25] [26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

Norm Drucker ejecting Red Auerbach
Norm Drucker ejecting Boston Celtic Coach Red Auerbach from a 1960 game at Madison Square Garden. Referee Arnie Heft attempts to keep the two separated.

As a result, assigning Drucker to "big games" was commonplace, and he officiated the deciding game of league championships eight times—four times in the NBA, in 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1968, and four times in the ABA, in 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1976. Of the nearly 400 referees who have officiated in the NBA and ABA, only two others Mendy Rudolph and Joe Crawford have officiated in more deciding games.[33][34] With a reputation for making "gutty calls"[35] and not "protecting" superstars[36] he holds the distinction of being the only referee ever to eject Wilt Chamberlain from an NBA game, calling three technical fouls[37] on Chamberlain on January 3, 1962.[38] In the late 1950s and early 1960s he was involved in what the press called a heated "feud" with legendary Boston Celtic coach Red Auerbach. His second ejection of Auerbach in a one-month period led to the coach's 3-game suspension by NBA president Maurice Podoloff on November 13, 1961.[39]

Drucker's career gave him a courtside view of key moments of the NBA's first 35 seasons. He was the last active NBA referee to have officiated in 1953-54—the last season before the NBA introduced the 24-second clock.[40] That same season, he was selected to officiate the only regular-season game in NBA history that experimented with rims 12 feet, rather than 10 feet, off the ground.[41] He officiated the games when Bob Pettit scored his 15,000th career point and Wilt Chamberlain scored his 25,000th.[42] He officiated the last game in the history of the ABA—the deciding game 6 of the 1976 ABA Championship Series,[43][44] the deciding game of the 1963 NBA Finals, Bob Cousy's final game as a Boston Celtic, and the deciding game of the 1966 Finals, Red Auerbach's last game.[45][46]

Drucker is also the link to referees whose careers span the entire history of the NBA. He partnered on the court with Pat Kennedy[47] whose NBA careers started in the NBA's first season, 1946–47, and as the NBA's Supervisor of Officials, Drucker hired Joe Crawford, who was still officiating during the 2014-15 season.

At the end of his officiating career, Drucker demonstrated a commitment to improving the salary, benefits and working conditions for future generations of professional referees. In 1977, he, along with 23 of the NBA's 25 other referees went on strike before the playoffs. At 56 years old, and about to retire, he noted at the time, "I'm not going to be the recipient of the benefits [of a collective bargaining agreement] ... I could have made a good deal for myself [by not striking]. Any one of the top 14 lead referees could have. But if we went, the bottom 14 referees wouldn't have any power. [The NBA] would tear [the referees] up."[48] After 16 days, the strike was settled[49] with the NBA, for the first time, recognizing the referee's union. Drucker worked what remained of the 1977 playoffs and retired.[50] Within three years, the salary and benefits for each top NBA referee increased by $100,000 per year.[51] As he predicted, he shared in none of the improved salary and working conditions enjoyed by future generations of professional referees.[52]

Despite having picketed and engaged in media interviews during the strike to bring pressure on the NBA, within four months the NBA hired him as its Supervisor of Officials. Overall, Drucker supervised and taught other referees for 10 seasons, six in the NBA, two as a crew chief (1967–1969) and four as the NBA's Supervisor of Officials (1977–81) and four as the ABA's Supervisor of the Officials (1969–73). His decade as a referee administrator had a substantial impact on NBA playing rules and improving the quality of basketball officiating.

As the NBA's Supervisor of Officials, he was one of the first NBA executives to publicly advocate the adoption of the ABA's three-point basket and the use of three referees per game.[53] The NBA adopted the three-point basket in 1979 and adopted the three-man officiating system for the 1978–79 season, although the league returned to two officials the next season.[54] The three-official system returned in the 1988–89 season and has been used by the NBA ever since. As an administrator in the ABA and NBA, he recruited and/or trained young referees, many of whom had long, successful NBA careers, including Joe Crawford, Bernie Fryer, Ed Middleton, Jake O'Donnell, Jack Nies, Jim Clark, Wally Rooney, and Jess Kersey.

Also, during his tenure he created the first formal pro basketball referee training program when the NBA contracted with the Continental Basketball Association, at that time the top pro basketball minor league.[55] Under the program, the NBA selected, trained and financially subsidized the CBA officiating staff and hired the CBA's Supervisor of Officials. The training program's success extended decades beyond Drucker's career. By 2000, nine of the 12 referees who officiated the NBA Finals were graduates of the CBA training program.[56] By 2008, 96% of all NBA referees had trained in the NBA's minor league training programs. Today, minor league training and development is the accepted norm for an NBA officiating career.[57]

Also during Drucker's tenure as Supervisor, he instituted the first professionally administered psychological profiling for NBA referees, to evaluate what personality traits were most common among great referees. Among the findings, said Drucker, was that to be a great referee "you've got to love [basketball] to succeed at it."[58][59]

After his retirement as Supervisor, the NBA honored him as an "All-Star" referee in the first three NBA "Legends" Games, which showcased retired NBA all-stars in an old-timer's game during NBA All-Star Weekends.[60] Always a bit of a showman, he hit All-Star Coach Red Auerbach with a technical foul in the 1984 game, eliciting laughter from players and NBA executives, and fittingly, renewed anger from Auerbach.[61]

Drucker's basketball career began as player where he learned the game from the first generation of basketball superstars. He played high school basketball at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn[62] starting in 1937,[63][64] in an era when there was no 3-second rule, goal tending was permitted and there was a jump ball after every basket. He played college basketball[65] at City College of New York (CCNY) under Hall of Fame Coach Nat Holman. Holman, a star in the 1930s was often referred to as "the world's best basketball player".[66] Drucker's 1941-42 CCNY team, which included future New York Knick coach and Hall of Famer Red Holzman, was ranked #3 in the country[67] and advanced to the NIT championship tournament,[68] the preeminent post-season tournament of that era. As a part-time starter,[69] The New York Times called Drucker "aggressive, alert and spirited".[70]

In January 1943, World War II interrupted Drucker's college career.[71] In the U.S. Army for 3 1/2 years, he served in Europe and was discharged a first Lieutenant.[72]

After the war, Drucker played professionally in the New York State Professional League for the Troy Celtics[73] Later, he was traded to the Trenton Tigers in the American Basketball League and played on their 1946-47 championship team.[67]

In 1949, Drucker began his officiating career refereeing AAU, high school,[74] collegiate,[75] and American Basketball League games.[76] Two years later he refereed one NBA game and in 1953 he moved up to the NBA with a full schedule of games. In 1989, Drucker came out of retirement and joined the World Basketball League, a minor league, as its Supervisor of Officials, a position he held for the four-year life of that league.

Drucker was inducted into the CCNY Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986.[77] In 1994, he was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame for his officiating career[78] and was also inducted in 1998 into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[79]

His son, Jim Drucker, served as commissioner of two professional sports leagues, the Continental Basketball Association from 1978 to 1986 and the Arena Football League from 1994 to 1996, and was ESPN's legal correspondent from 1989 to 1993.

Drucker retired to East Norriton, Pennsylvania and died in 2015.[80]


  1. ^ Drucker's date of birth is sometimes listed as 1921 or 1922, but that is the result of the common practice among NBA referees in the 1950s and 1960s to exaggerate their youth, to avoid perceived age discrimination by the NBA.
  2. ^ In 1953, NBA rookie officials earned $35 per game (with the top veteran referees getting $50 per game). The Rise of the National Basketball Association, By David G. Surdam, page 101. Working a full 70-game season would net a rookie referee $2,450, 29% less than the 1953 U.S. median family income of $4,000. See: For most every official, their NBA refereeing was their 'second' job. See: From Set Shot to Slam Dunk: The Glory Days of Basketball in the Words of Those Who Played It, page 188. After two seasons, he requested a raise of $5 per game and then-NBA President Maurice Podoloff replied, "What are you trying to do, bankrupt the NBA?"
  3. ^
  4. ^ In the then recently completed 1969 NBA finals, only five referees officiated during the series and the NBA lost four of them, including Drucker, to the ABA. Of the five top officials, only Mendy Rudolph remained in the NBA.
  5. ^ According to the book "Basketball in America," the average NBA player's salary in 1969 was $35,000.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Drucker's other job was as a Supervisor of Recreation for New York City's school system. There, he was "largely responsible" for establishing the first sports programs mainstreaming blind children with sighted friends to play basketball and other sports. "Aside from [a] bell on the backboard, we also placed one inside the ball itself," Drucker explained at the time. Nationally syndicated column, by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. See for example, SW Times, Oct. 13, 1965, page 18.
  8. ^ Sports Illustrated reported, "Like the players, refs have prospered from the war between the two leagues. Before the ABA existed, officials worked for small, per-game fees. Now they have full-time contracts, $45 per diem for expenses, health plans, pensions and incomes that range from $14,000 to nearly $50,000 for eight months' work. Six years ago nobody would let his daughter go out with a ref; now bankers invite them to lunch." Sports Illustrated, October 15, 1973.
  9. ^ Pluto, Terry, Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association (Simon & Schuster, 1990), ISBN 978-1-4165-4061-8, pp.29-30, 127-133, 272
  10. ^ The ABA viewed the jumping of the referees as a tremendous success. Four years later the ABA stole two more top NBA referees, paying each a $100,000 signing bonus. Ibid. pp 133. Such was the success of the raid on the top referees, that the league's General Managers and coaches actually lavished incredible praise on its officials. A sample: Texas General Manager Max Williams remarked, "One of the best moves we ever made was to get the NBA officials." Ibid. pp. 130. Bob Bass, a long-time ABA General Manager and coach noted, "Our officials were so much better than the NBA's, it wasn't even close." Ibid.pp 133. Former coach, turned TV sportscaster Hubie Brown said, "When you think about it, [the officiating in the ABA] was like the players -- it was an incredible amount of talent, just staggering." Ibid. pp 133. Brown's praise is especially impressive in that he was once fined a then ABA-record $1,000 for a locker room shoving match with Drucker in 1976.,986957 It is difficult to recall another incidence of a league's executives so consistently praising its referees.
  11. ^ Mendy Rudolph, the only one of the top five NBA referees to remain with the NBA said at the time, "Losing those four officials will be the single biggest blow the NBA will have to sustain.",1503886
  12. ^ Sports Illustrated's Peter Carry noted, "While the ABA has had little success in pirating away the older league's star players, it has acquired the services of five of its "star" referees ... Largely because of the jumpers, regular-season officiating in the ABA is somewhat better than in the NBA." Sports Illustrated, October 15, 1973.
  13. ^ Suddenly, major non-sports publications, like People magazine, were featuring stories about pro referees. For example see:,,20066229,00.html.
  14. ^ Like many in the ABA, he was an avid booster of the league. In 1975, just one year before the merger, he said, "The quality of play in the ABA is just as good as the NBA. In fact, I believe just about every team in the ABA would be in the NBA playoffs this year.
  15. ^ Julius Erving noted, "The NBA elected to take the best of the ABA, which was me, George Gervin, David Thompson, Artis Gilmore and the coaches and the 3-point shot and the three referees.""
  16. ^ With the added physical toll of a two-man officiating system, Drucker went out on top when he retired at age 57. In his last two seasons he officiated three games in the Finals and numerous other playoff games. Many other top pro officials (during the two-referee era) were felled at younger ages by serious medical conditions or were fired when their skills declined. Sid Borgia was fired and officiated his last game at age 47. Richie Powers was fired in 1968 at age 38, only to be rehired when Drucker and three others jumped to the ABA in 1969. Powers was fired again at age 49.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Harvey Pollack's 2013-14 NBA Statistical Yearbook, page 279
  19. ^
  20. ^ Cages to Jump Shots : Pro Basketball's Early Years, page 176.
  21. ^
  22. ^ During this era, Drucker and any other referee who wasn't a "homer" had to have the courage to fight off violent hometown fans. For example, the Syracuse Nationals had a fan nicknamed "The Strangler" who "thought nothing of menacing officials". Mr. Basketball: George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers, and the Birth of the NBA, page 135. "[He] tried to strangle a college referee one time. I think that's where he got his name." noted Drucker in "From Set Shot to Slam Dunk" According to Drucker, the Strangler would "run up and down the sidelines during the game...screaming, 'You SOB, you stink.'" Mr. Basketball: George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers, and the Birth of the NBA, page 135. Other incidents with fans were common in the NBA in the 1950s and 1960s. According to the Associated Press, on February 24, 1964 in Los Angeles, Drucker was "mauled and kicked as he was leaving the dressing room at halftime". But Drucker's injuries "were not serious enough to keep him from continuing". The Chicago Tribune, Feb. 25, 1963, page 49. Gettysburg Times, Feb. 25, 1963, page 4. On November 15, 1958, in Detroit, after a two-point Piston loss, a fan ran onto the court and "took a punch at Norm Drucker". The Stars and Stripes, Nov. 16, 1958, page 18. As late as 1964, security for NBA officials was so lax, that "a fan tangled with referees Norm Drucker and Richie Powers," as they left the court after San Francisco defeated St. Louis in a playoff game. The Bee, April 9, 1964, page 10-A. After the Lakers defeated the Celtics in game 5 of the NBA Finals in Boston on April 24, 1966, "a gaggle of idiots" confronted Drucker and Earl Strom. "Then Russell Said to Bird...": The Greatest Celtics Stories Ever Told", page 121. It was so bad in Syracuse in the 1950s that Drucker noted that when he and his officiating partner would leave the court after a Syracuse loss, "[we] would take off our belts and wrap them around our fists, with the buckles obvious to everyone. This was going to be our protection." Hoop Lore: A History of the National Basketball Association, page 72.
  23. ^ Drucker even stood up to hometown sportswriters. On March 12, 1969, he ejected Philadelphia Daily News Sportswriter Jack Kiser from the 76ers' front row press table for "harassing" him and referee Jack Madden. Boston Globe, March 13, 1969, page 63.
  24. ^ Ten years after Drucker retired, ESPN's Roy Firestone said, "Earl Strom is a throwback, a reminder of the days when the refs had colorful personalities, the days when war-horses like Mendy Rudolph, Norm Drucker, and a younger Earl Strom were called the father, the son, and the holy ghost." Calling the Shots: My Five Decades in the NBA, page 235. Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar included Drucker among a small group of "refs that set a standard that has endured." Drucker's reputation was all the more noteworthy because for seven of his last eight seasons he officiated in the ABA, which "operated without a television contract ... for most of its existence." The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Number 1, page 229 at In contrast, Rudolph spent his entire career in the higher-profile NBA and Strom returned to the NBA after his three-year ABA contract ended in 1972.
  25. ^ Even their peers agreed about pro basketball's top officials. Said Joe Gushue, who refereed with all three and over 75 others during his 23-year NBA and ABA career, said "... the great ones ... Drucker, Strom, and Rudolph ..." Tall Tales: The Glory Years of the NBA, page 293.
  26. ^ "Drucker [is] generally recognized as the top arbiter in the NBA." Feb. 18, 1968.
  27. ^ The Sporting News, used the three as THE standard when complimenting another referee and noted that the other official "... is a [referee] who belongs in the company of Mendy Rudolph, Norm Drucker [and] the late Earl Strom."
  28. ^ "NBA Referee Norm Drucker is the best in the business," commented sportswriter Tom Burnside in February of 1968:,4904,1357,4950;655,6459,761,6505;788,6459,974,6505;1204,6650,1380,6696
  29. ^ The nationally syndicated National Enterprise Association said, "Norm Drucker [is] one of pro basketball's top officials". NEA column, Feb. 27, 1962.
  30. ^ "Drucker distinguished himself as one of the finest officials in the [NBA]." From Set Shot to Slam Dunk: The Glory Days of Basketball in the Words of Those Who Played It, page 183.
  31. ^ Drucker's officiating was appreciated by fans, too. In 2001, one of his NBA referee jerseys was auctioned for $3,950, which was more than his entire NBA salary his rookie season, and even more than a LeBron James high school jersey, and more than the jerseys of Magic Johnson or Dominique Wilkins.
  32. ^ "Sid Borgia was one of the best refs of his day (along with Mendy Rudolph, Norm Drucker and ... Earl Strom", wrote David Steele in the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1970, Newsday's Jim Smith noted, "he is one of the best."
  33. ^ Harvey Pollack's 2013-14 NBA Statistical Yearbook, page 255.
  34. ^ 1971-72 ABA Official Guide, page __, 1972-73 ABA Official Guide, page __ and 1974-75 ABA Official Guide, page _ NBA:,
  35. ^ Typical was Sports Illustrated writer Peter Carry's report on an ABA playoff game: "Mike Pratt scored a three-pointer for Kentucky. But in a gutty call of the sort too rarely seen in the critical closing moments of pro games, Referee Norm Drucker nullified the basket." Sports Illustrated, April 17, 1972. After Drucker ejected Chamberlain, Murray Olderman, the long-time NBA writer for the nationally syndicated Newspaper Enterprises Association noted, "It took real courage for Drucker to stand under the chin of the riled (Chamberlain) and keep pointing to the exit. Like surfboarding in a tidal wave.",2542,529,2575;25,2579,146,2612
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Although the press called it a feud, it was just Drucker not giving in to Auerbach's attempts at intimidation. "Auerbach perfected the art of courtside intimidation as no coach before or since has ever done. He was fined for calling referee Arnie Heft 'stupid and incompetent.' He was fined for giving referee Richie Powers the choke sign. He was fined for calling referees Norm Drucker and Mendy Rudolph 'a couple of chokers.' He was suspended for actually shoving referee Joe Gushue. In a game against the Lakers, referee Richie Powers became so upset with Auerbach that he threw his whistle at him and announced that he was quitting ... Auerbach once punched Philadelphia Warriors coach Neil Johnston ... Auerbach attacked a Cincinnati fan ..." And on and on. See: The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and the Golden Age of Basketball, pages 118-119. Drucker's tenacity in standing up to the attempted intimidation continued for years. Five seasons later, in the 1965-66 season, Auerbach was still at it and received his 18th technical and fourth ejection (two by Drucker) just two-thirds of the way through the season, on February 7.,1913,3540,1963;3567,1913,3760,1963 "Game officials ... like Norm Drucker ... were hardly amused by [Red's] tactics". See: Dynasty's End: Bill Russell and the 1968-69 World Champion Boston Celtics, page 21. In the book "From Set Shot to Dunk" Drucker said, "Auerbach was always trying to get an edge, and I wasn't going to give him any."
  40. ^ Shot clock
  41. ^
  42. ^ List of career achievements by Wilt Chamberlain
  43. ^ Drucker also officiated the three other deciding games of the ABA Finals, in 1971, 1972 and 1974. 1971-72 ABA Official Guide, page and 1972-73 ABA Official Guide, page __ and 1974-75 ABA Official Guide, page _
  44. ^ Video on YouTube
  45. ^
  46. ^ The list of notable games he officiated also includes the deciding game of the 1965 NBA Finals, the deciding game of the 1968 NBA Finals, first NBA game in the current Madison Square Garden and the last NBA game at the old Madison Square Garden.
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ Salt Lake City Tribute, April 26, 1977, page 13 at
  50. ^ Drucker lost about $3,700 in salary for the playoff games he didn't officiate during the strike.
  51. ^ The New York Times, Dec. 19, 1980, at
  52. ^ By 2013, top NBA referees were earning $550,000 for the regular season -- more than ten times the 2012 U.S. median family income of $51,371.
  53. ^ In a nationally distributed Associated Press feature story, in October of 1977, soon after he became the NBA Supervisor, Drucker strongly favored the NBA going to three-man officiating crews.,700,2903,738;2254,742,2413,780,1442,120,1467;135,1442,250,1467;63,1746,155,1771;166,2300,265,2325;417,1600,522,1625;459,1875,559,1900;954,1483,1052,1508;890,2062,982,2087;860,2300,982,2325;754,2579,842,2604
  54. ^ Drucker noted that officials' health and welfare are better served by a three-ref system. Drucker asserted that the high-pressure work caused four officials to miss significant portions of the 1977-78 season. Sports Illustrated, July 9, 1979.
  55. ^
  56. ^ 2000 NBA Finals
  57. ^ Many CBA officials in the program had long NBA officiating careers, including Joe Borgia, ^ FMT=AI&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Dec+16%2C+1979&author=Ryan%2C+Bob&pub=Boston+Globe+%281960-1981%29&edition=&startpage=&desc=In+the+NBA%2C+they+influence+both+pace%2C+score
  58. ^ "Drucker observed that a 'middle- or lower-rung [basketball] player seems the type who becomes a good referee.' The star, Drucker believed, is so accustomed to accolades and pats on the back that he does not have the 'loner' temperament a referee needs to reassure himself that the decision he has just made is correct and that one entire team and 18,000 fans are wrong." Sports Illustrated, February 6, 1978.
  59. ^ The Associated Press' account of the 1986 game called him a "longtime NBA legend".,4835250 For a recap of the 1984 game, see:
  60. ^ See: In the 1985 game, retired Celtic All-Star Tommy Heinsohn hit a jumper that Drucker a ruled a 2-point basket. Heinsohn argued that it was a 3-pointer, and won the argument. Heinsohn joked, "That's the first time I ever won a dispute with a referee."
  61. ^ He was, according to newspaper publisher Neal Heller, "a legend of Brooklyn basketball",3593637
  62. ^ Erasmus reached the quarter-finals of the New York City championship in his first season. See See: And also:
  63. ^ "The Rumble: AN OFF-THE-BALL LOOK AT YOUR FAVORITE SPORTS CELEBRITIES", New York Post, December 31, 2006. Accessed December 13, 2007. "The five Erasmus Hall of Fame legends include Raiders owner Al Davis, Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, Yankee pitching great Waite Hoyt, Billy Cunningham and Knicks founder Ned Irish. Other sports notables include Bulls/White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, chess champion Bobby Fischer, ex-Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano, legendary NBA referee Norm Drucker and "Boys of Summer" author Roger Kahn." It is hard to imagine today, but in that era, high school games were often played at Madison Square Garden, with crowds of 10,000 not uncommon. See:
  64. ^ Drucker was a "scrapper, (who) played hustling ball" according to the CCNY student newspaper. The Campus, Undergraduate Newspaper of CCNY, February 6, 1941, Volume 81, No.1, page 3, column 3.
  65. ^
  66. ^ a b
  67. ^ 1942 National Invitation Tournament
  68. ^ See:
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^ After the war, he also earned a bachelor's degree in science from CCNY.
  72. ^ In announcing his signing with Troy, in a wonderful bit of promotional hype, the team nicknamed him "Reindeer" (the nickname didn't stick) and called him "the fastest man playing basketball today". See:,2623593
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^ He, along with Hall of Fame referee Pat Kennedy, also officiated a serious, not comic game when the Harlem Globetrotters defeated the College All-stars. See:
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^ National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum#Basketball
  79. ^

External links

  • Norm Drucker's Biography at Jews in Sports
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