The NBA Officials will be wearing a #57 on their uniforms during the NBA Finals to pay respects to Greg Willard, official #57, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Greg Willard is 53 years old.
You might not know Greg Willard. During our Jazz broadcast this season Ron and I played a game “Get to know your official.” However, we only played this game when an official worked his way into our broadcast. Our general philosophy about officiating in our broadcasts is to mention who is calling the game and then mention them if they make a specific call, but otherwise they don’t intrude in our broadcast unless they intrude on the game. When they do we play “Get to know your official”.
For this reason you may not know Greg Willard. Not once in two years have we played get to know your official about Greg Willard. He never inserted himself into the game. He just called a solid game each and every time he worked a Jazz game. Being spotlighted is not a compliment. Greg Willard never being mentioned is the best compliment we can give him as an official.
Since we never spotlighted him in a broadcast let me tell you a bit about the 24 year NBA veteran. He has called over 1,500 NBA games, 120+ playoff games and been honored to call NBA Finals games.
He is a Southern California native who went to Long Beach State and officiated in the Pac-10 before the NBA.
He is married and the father of three. His biography says he is active coaching in youth leagues and like to swim, surf and ski.
Now you know Greg Willard. Send prayers his way.
Greg get well. You are one of the games best and since now I know you ski I look forward to taking a run in the future.