A polarizing NBA referee with a contentious Golden State Warriors record has retired amid controversial social media activity.
Eric Lewis, a referring veteran of over 1200 combined regular season and playoff games, has retired effective immediately according to a statement released by the league on Wednesday.
A league-worst shooting foul discrepancy means Eric Lewis’ retirement as an NBA referee can only mean good things for the Golden State Warriors.
In light of the decision, the NBA announced they were closing an investigation into Lewis’ social media activity that had drawn plenty of controversy. Fans were quick to take to social media to celebrate the decision, believing their team had been wrongfully refereed by Lewis in the past.
But of those critical of Lewis’ decision-making as a ref, Warrior fans may have the biggest bone to pick with the 52-year-old. Golden State had a horrid shooting foul discrepancy in games refereed by Lewis — statistics that spread across both the regular season and the playoffs.
Across 69 regular season games refereed by Lewis across his career, Golden State were called for 1.4 more shooting fouls than their opponent on average. That was the worst differential of any team in the league, with the Milwaukee Bucks second at 0.9.
The Warriors had a 38-31 regular season record in games officiated by Lewis — that’s a slightly worse winning percentage than their overall winning percentage in the time since he entered the league (2004-05).
Lewis refereed 11 games involving the Warriors during the playoffs, with the shooting foul differential rising to 2.0. However, that only ranked as third-worst behind the Phoenix Suns (4.3 in six games) and Washington Wizards (3.5 in two games).
By no means has the Warriors’ free-throw differential been a product of Lewis’ refereeing, rather it’s a consequence of the way in which they’ve played over the last decade or so. Still, there’s clear evidence to suggest his decision to retire won’t be harming the franchise’s chances heading into next season.