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N.B. basketball referee makes appearance in docuseries about Michael Jordan
MONCTON -- The 10-part documentary series “The Last Dance,” which chronicles basketball great Michael Jordan’s NBA career, has received a lot of hype since its release.
Moncton referee Dick Steeves not only watched the series -- he was part of it.
Episode five of the docuseries features the gold medal men’s basketball game at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, when Jordan and the American “Dream Team” took on Croatia.
Much to his delight, Steeves was assigned to referee the game. He kept the assignment slip as a memento.
It reads: “Assigned to the following nomination to be played tomorrow night corresponding to the men's final in the Olympic competition.”
“This is the only one I've ever kept. It's pretty special,” says Steeves.
The Moncton native got his start as a referee when he was removed from his high school basketball game for a technical foul. The athletic director at the time suggested he become an official.
“He said, 'C'mon with me, we're going to go referee a game somewhere,” recalls Steeves.
From there, his career soared. Steeves went from working university games to international tournaments.
His big break came in 1987 when Steeves was invited to ref the European Championship in Greece.
However, Steeves says nothing can top the 1992 Olympic gold medal game, which he calls "the top of Mount Everest for international basketball.”
“If somebody tells you that you're going to spend two hours on the basketball court tomorrow night, with the greatest basketball players in that era, on the same team, with a global television audience of something like a billion and a half people, I mean, you don't sleep very well that night,” says Steeves.
As a long-time Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen fan, Steeves was amazed to see the pair play in person. The duo, who Steeves calls "the Batman and Robin" of basketball, led the Chicago Bulls to six championships in the 1990s.
“To have those two guys on the Dream Team in Barcelona and to see them up close in personal like that, I mean, that was like, if you’re talking about a dream come true, that would be it,” says Steeves.
For years, basketball fans have debated who is the greatest player of all time. Is it Jordan? Kobe? Lebron?
Steeves says there is no doubt in his mind who deserves that title and he’s glad he got to see “His Airness” play in his prime.
“To me, I don’t think it's even close. I mean, he's just so talented,” says Steeves.
Steeves says there were three key factors to his successful career: a little bit of talent, a lot of help along the way, and a bunch of luck.