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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Madison Williams

LeBron James Reacts to Death of Longtime NBA Referee Tony Brown

Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown has died at 55 from pancreatic cancer, the league announced Thursday.

Lakers star LeBron James shared a few little memories about his time interacting with the referee throughout Brown’s 20-year career in the league.

Brown even worked during the 2020 NBA Finals when James’ Lakers took down the Heat 4–2 to win the title.

“R.I.P. Tony man!!” James tweeted. “Great ref but greater dude! 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!”

During his career, Brown worked 1,110 regular-season games and 35 playoff games, as well as the 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

The referee was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer at the beginning of 2021. He took eight months off from working the court but returned in late November.

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