NBA official Tony Brown passes away

NEW YORK – Longtime NBA official Tony Brown passed away today surrounded by his family, friends and fellow officials after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was 55.

“We are and have been sustained by the consistent outpouring of love and support through this journey in developing strength, acceptance and peace,” said Tony’s wife, Tina Brown.  “We ask that you join us in that spirit as we prepare to celebrate Tony’s life.  Our biggest thank you to our village of family and friends, near and far, old and new.  Your love is immeasurable.  Thanks to the Lustgarten Foundation and PanCan.  Keep striving for the cures.  Many, many thanks to our NBRA and NBA family whose generosity is unmatched.  And a very special thank you to the Emory/Bridgeway Hospice Unit.  Your compassion and care went above and beyond.  We are forever grateful!”

“Tony Brown was one of the most accomplished referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “After his pancreatic cancer diagnosis early last year, Tony fought courageously through countless rounds of treatment to return to work this past season at the NBA Replay Center, demonstrating the dedication, determination and passion that made him such a highly respected official for 20 years.  The entire NBA family mourns Tony’s passing and we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Tina; their children, Bailey, Basile and Baylen; and his fellow referees.”

Brown officiated 1,110 regular-season games and 35 playoff games in 20 seasons as an NBA staff official.  He made his debut as an NBA Finals referee during the 2019-20 season.  A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Brown was a member of the crew that officiated the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, which honored HBCUs.

In lieu of flowers, the Brown family encourages donations to the Tony and Tina Brown Basketball Program Endowment at Clark Atlanta University.  For more information, please visit