In NBA as important as the players are, the referees are equally important. Born on May 20, 1971, in Daytona Beach, Florida, Eric Lewis is an NBA referee currently in the 19th season of his career. But before becoming an NBA officiating staff, Lewis officiated three seasons in the NBA G League including the 2004 Finals. Apart from this he also officiated two seasons in the US Basketball League.
However, he played basketball while studying at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following this, he went to Bethune-Cookman University where he continued playing there and officiated for 8 seasons. With this, he then went up to many NCAA conferences and ended up in the NBA.
The first time when Lewis officiated was in the NBA Finals game of 2019 between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Apart from this, he also officiated two other NBA Finals game series in 2020 and 2021. The first was between the Lakers and Miami Heat, and, the second one, was between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns.
However, till today Lewis has officiated a total of 1,098 regular-season games in 18 seasons in NBA. Apart from this he also officiated in 82 playoff games that includes six NBA Finals games.
Has Eric Lewis been involved in controversies in the NBA before?
In a 2015 pre-season game between Clippers and Hornets, Lewis was called out by Clippers point guard Chris Paul after calling him for a foul. However, Paul commented saying “I’ve got two kids of my own, don’t talk to me like I’m a little kid.” This resulted in CP3’s second technical foul.
LeBron James absolutely fuming that he didn’t get the foul call at the end of Lakers-Celtics 😳pic.twitter.com/vuTiEHEBJh
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 29, 2023
The second and biggest controversy in his career is the January 28, 2023 game between the Lakers and Celtics. In the game, Lewis missed the shooting foul by Jayson Tatum against LeBron James. “There was contact. At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.” – Lewis said in the post-interview of the game.
The NBA has already determined in its postgame review that the officials got the call wrong on the Lakers’ last possession of the 4th Q and a Jayson Tatum should have been called for a shooting foul on LeBron James, league sources told ESPN.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 29, 2023
However, the game resulted in the Laker’s 125-121 loss over the Boston Celtics. James on the other hand was deeply disappointed with the decision. Apart from this, Patrick Beverley was also given a technical foul for showing off a camera where the foul was recorded. Nevertheless, later Lewis and the NBA clarified the decision as incorrect but there was no other decision made.
Despite the controversy, Eric Lewis in his officiating career in NBA has given many good decisions in the games.
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