Eric Lewis will NOT officiate an NBA Finals game for first time in five years due to investigation
Veteran NBA official Eric Lewis has not been selected as one of the 12 umpires who will play the NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, as he remains under investigation by the league.
The NBA has investigated whether Lewis used a Twitter account to defend himself and other officials against online criticism.
Lewis had been chosen to work the finals in each of the past four seasons. The referees for this year’s finals were announced by the league on Thursday morning, approximately 12 hours before the start of the title series.
After some now-deleted tweets were revealed by a few Twitter users last week, the league opened an investigation into whether Lewis violated NBA rules by speaking of unauthorized conduct.
It has not been determined whether Lewis used the account, which belonged to a user named ‘Blair Cuttliff’ with the username @CuttliffBlair.” The account was briefly deactivated last week but was active again on Wednesday evening.
NBA official Eric Lewis is under investigation through a Twitter account he allegedly used
The account allegedly belonging to Lewis was seen as commentary on multiple posts
“As far as Eric Lewis and the social media posts are concerned, we are continuing to review the matter and he will not participate in the Finals,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Thursday.
The league has not released a timetable for the completion of its investigation into whether Lewis used the Twitter account. It also remains unknown what league discipline Lewis could face if he broke policy by discussing matters openly and without approval.
Of the 12 umpires selected for the Nuggets-Heat matchup, nine worked on the title sequence last season. Scott Foster will serve as finals referee for the 16th year, while Tony Brothers and Marc Davis have been selected for the 12th time.
Zach Zarba is now a ten-time selection, John Goble was selected for the seventh time, David Guthrie for the sixth time, Josh Tiven for the fourth time and Courtney Kirkland and James Williams have now been selected three times.
Returning to the refereeing line-up for the final are Ed Malloy, now an eight-way pick, and Bill Kennedy – chosen for the fifth time. The only first roster this year is Kevin Scott, who began working on NBA games in the 2010-2011 season.
Tyler Ford and Ben Taylor have been named alternates for the final. Foster has officiated 23 NBA Finals games, followed by Davis (18) and Brothers (15).
“The pinnacle for an NBA official is to work the NBA Finals,” said Byron Spruell, the league’s president of basketball operations.
Davis, Guthrie and Malloy will work on Game 1 of the series on Thursday night, the league said. Typically, the 12 umpires each get to work on one of the first four games of the series.
LeBron James has also spoken out about reports that Lewis is under investigation over a burner account
In addition to Lewis, Kane Fitzgerald, the other referees who worked on the 2022 finals but are not working this year are Kane Fitzgerald – who left fieldwork after last season and took over as vice president of the league’s Referee Operations and Replay Center in September Director – and James Capers, who is injured.
Lewis has officiated over 1,100 games and 82 playoff games and has been rated as one of the NBA’s top officials in recent years.
Throughout his career, Lewis has been assigned six games in the NBA Finals since 2019 and the last game he was assigned was Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers on May 16.
Lakers star James, 38, took to Twitter about Lewis on Saturday afternoon
On May 25, the account claimed to be operated by Lewis’ brother Mark.
In response to the Twitter account, who claimed Lewis is behind @CuttliffBlair, a tweet said, “This is MARK Lewis. Right family (older brother).
“I’m sorry I put E in this situation, but this isn’t Watergate. You are right, the account WILL come down. Twitter shouldn’t be so vengeful. Sorry for the inconvenience.’
If Eric Lewis is found guilty, this wouldn’t be the first time burner accounts have caused a problem in the NBA.
In 2018, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo resigned after he and his wife were linked to burner accounts critical of some of the team’s players.
Not long after, then-Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant admitted to running several burner accounts to secretly communicate with fans who criticized him or the team online.