This NBA Comeback Story Is a Little Different

Haywoode Workman

I always had a soft spot for Haywoode Workman, and I think it's because of his name. He was an NBA journeyman by every definition of the word (former second-round pick out of Oral Roberts, played for three different teams in his first three years) but like his last name suggests, he worked hard and carved out a pretty decent career for himself.

He was an occasional starter for some pretty good Pacers teams in the early 90's (ie, the "Reggie Miller stomping on Spike Lee's heart" era) but spent the second half of his career warming the benches of some pretty awful teams. I forgot about him long ago but was happy to see his name this morning when I saw that he was staging a comeback ... as a ref. From Kyle Hightower of the Orlando Sentinel:

Now 42, Workman has been coming up through the ref ranks the past five years and was on NBA referee roster in '06-'07 and '07-'08 as preseason ref, while working both of those seasons as a NBA Development League official.

Workman is one of three NBA ref hires this season.

He was on the court working Orlando's 118-80 preseason win over Atlanta Wednesday.

Once Workman works his first regular season game, he'll become just the third former player in league history to successfully make the jump as a ref. He's been working toward this goal for awhile now -- I just did some digging and found this old article David Aldridge wrote in 2003 about Workman's transition from player to ref, which at that point was already two years old -- so it's nice to see that he finally made it to the top.

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