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Referee Eric Lewis was not among 12 officials selected to work the NBA Finals as the league investigates whether he used a burner account on Twitter to defend himself from critics.
Lewis was on the NBA crew for the past four Finals.
The Denver Nuggets took Game 1 over the the Miami Heat, 104-93,Thursday night, June 1 (Friday, June 2, Manila time).
“Regarding Eric Lewis and the social media posts, we are continuing to review the matter and he will not be working the Finals,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Thursday, per ESPN.
The list of officials announced Thursday morning includes Scott Foster, working the Finals for the 16th time. Tony Brothers and Marc Davis were each chosen or the 12th time.
Also picked were Zach Zarba, John Goble, Ed Malloy, David Guthrie, Bill Kennedy, Josh Tiven, Courtney Kirkland, James Williams, and Kevin Scott.
“The pinnacle for an NBA official is to work the NBA Finals,” league president of basketball operations Byron Spruell said in a news release.
Lewis has 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 Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers.
The NBA is probing Lewis’ connection to the Twitter account @CuttliffBlair, which was brought to light by user @PabloEscoburner. The site was created in November 2015 and, according to screen grabs, has been a constant defender of Lewis and NBA officiating overall, responding to negative tweets and highlighting Lewis’ work.
NBA reporter Marc Stein first reported the investigation on Friday, and ESPN and The Athletic confirmed through sources on Sunday that the league is investigating Lewis and his link to the account.
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, but as of Sunday night the account was active.
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. – Rappler.com