NBA ref Eric Lewis retires amid league probe

Apr 18, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; NBA referee Eric Lewis during the Phoenix Suns against the Los Angeles Clippers during game two of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NBA referee Eric Lewis retired on Wednesday amid a league investigation into whether he used a burner account on social media site Twitter, now X, to defend himself against critics.

A statement from the NBA said that Lewis retired “effective immediately.”

“In light of his decision, the NBA’s investigation into social media activity has been closed,” the league said.

Lewis, 52, worked more than 1,200 games in 19 seasons in the league. His last assignment was on May 16 for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers.

However, he was facing discipline from the league if investigators connected him as the owner to the Twitter account @CuttliffBlair.

Lewis was not among 12 officials selected to work the NBA Finals while the league investigated.

The account was brought to light by Twitter user @PabloEscoburner in May. The account @CuttliffBlair was created in November 2015 and, according to screengrabs posted by PabloEscoburner, had been a constant defender of Lewis and NBA officiating overall, responding to negative tweets and highlighting Lewis’ work.

When PabloEscoburner first tweeted about the account and a possible link to Lewis, CuttliffBlair replied that the account was run by Lewis’ older brother, Mark. PabloEscoburner then showed the account as deleted later in the day.

Of note, the account followed six users: PabloEscoburner, four NBA-related accounts (@RefAnalytics, @OfficialNBARefs, @NBA and @NBAOfficial), and @MasonWBB — the official account of George Mason women’s basketball. Eric Lewis’ wife, Vanessa Blair-Lewis, is the head coach at George Mason.

–Field Level Media

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