For 3 referees, NBA Finals a long time coming

10:09 AM ET

Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jared Dudley of the Los Angeles Lakers waited 13 seasons for his first look at the NBA Finals. Goran Dragic‘s finals debut for the Miami Heat comes in his 12th season. Heat star Jimmy Butler is headed there for the first time in his ninth year.

Long waits, for certain.

They’ve got nothing on referees Pat Fraher and Tony Brown, who waited a whole lot longer for their opportunity on the NBA’s brightest stage.

It took Fraher 19 seasons and Brown 18 seasons, but they’re now NBA Finals referees for the first time. The league on Wednesday released the list of 12 refs who earned the right to call at least one game in this series, a group that includes three first-timers — Fraher, Brown and 10-year referee Josh Tiven.

“What I’ve been told from multiple people is you’ve got to approach it just like another game,” Fraher said. “We are creatures of habit and our success is built on our routines, so it’ll be the same routine that I go through for any other game. I’ll be excited and nervous — but I’m excited and nervous

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