Toronto's timekeepers: courtside clock-watching with the Toronto Raptors
This is kind of an interesting article because I don't think that we as fans really think of all the cogs in the wheel that actually go into making each game happen.
NBA timekeeper Brigg Harvey is comfortable in his pressure-filled job, but not complacent. Dramatic, game-changing events happen in mere seconds and a glitch on the clock can end with him at the receiving end of an angry tirade.
“I try not to make any mistakes but if I make one eight minutes into the first quarter people forget about it pretty fast. But if I make it with eight seconds left in the game and the game is tied, they remember it for a long time,” he said ahead of a Toronto Raptors game against the San Antonio Spurs Feb. 9.
“When we have a short period of time left in a quarter or in a shot clock situation when the clock has to start on time, teams are very cognoscente of timing. With 1.3 seconds to go they run an inbound play -- they can do a lot in 1.3 seconds. If I happen to start the clock early and they lose half of that time because of my mistake they get very upset,” he added.
Harvey, a Barrie, Ont. high school math teacher by day and the Toronto Raptors' timekeeper by night, said during his 14 years in the NBA he's been yelled at by players, coaches and franchise owners. He’s also been accused of cheating.
“You’re dealing with some very intense people. I don’t take it too personally, or I try not to, but ... this means a lot of money to players, to coaches to owners," he said. "It’s very significant."
When the Raptors don’t make the playoffs Harvey is sent to other cities to manage the game clock as part of the NBA’s neutral time keeping program. He recalled a particularly intense situation during a playoff game between the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets in April of 2004.
The clock malfunctioned twice in the final two minutes of the game at Madison Square Garden.
“The NBA analyzed the situation and determined that I wasn’t at fault. I had a sleepless night in the hotel and watching the news and these analysts on ESPN … talk about the timekeeper from Toronto and essentially how I screwed up, so that was quite intense,” Harvey said.
“I say to people … I’ve never been yelled at by a billionaire before, but I was that night,” he said referring to the owner of the Knicks.
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