Infamous Ref Michael Henderson May Get Second Chance

I'm not usually one to hold a grudge.

But there are exceptions.

Back in February of 2004, I was sitting in the lower bowl of the Pepsi Center for the first time and watching a scintillating battle between the Nuggets and Lakers. I remember it clearly - the nuggets were up by 2 with about 5 seconds left, and Andre Miller launches up a short jumper. It grazes (but obviously struck) the rim, and was going straight toward Carmelo for an easy rebound.


That's when it happened. Michael Henderson - unaware that the ball had (obviously) struck the rim, blew his whistle to signal a shot clock violation. Before the ball got into Melo's hands.

The refs huddled, and decided it was an inadvertant whistle. Since no one had possession of the ball when the whistle was blown, even though Carmelo clearly would have, they had to jump it up.

Nene vs. a Shaq in his early thirties - tip goes to Shaq. Kobe brings the ball up, takes a few dribbles, and kicks it to... Kareem Rush. Thats right, Nugget's summer league bench warmer Kareem Rush, who drills a dagger 3 to win the game.


Pandemonium breaks loose at The Can - a rain of popcorn and beer follows the jubilant Lakers into the locker room and tithes of dejected fans make their way to the exits. A number of fights almost break loose between infuriated Nuggets fans and Lakers fans that are in their usual form of lowbrow gloating and superiority.

Henderson missed three games -- the union called it a suspension -- after he was called to league headquarters following an incorrect call in a game between Denver and the Lakers in February 2004.

I still have not forgiven Michael Henderson, even though it has been more than half a decade. In fact, about 3 years ago, I started a Facebook group called "I still haven't forgiven Michael Hendersen". Go ahead and join if you feel the same.

After the league publicly acknowledged the error, nearly all the officials responded the next night by wearing their jerseys inside-out with Henderson's No. 62 on the back.

The league would not say why Henderson was fired.

ESPN also covered the story, albeit with less personal loathing and reflection on a brilliant game that could have been but was ruined by Referee #62.

Write respectfully of your SB Nation community and yourself.

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