AKRON, Ohio -- Earl Strom on current officials:
* Mike Mathis and Danny Crawford: "They're just damn good. They have courage, they control the game and they don't worry about what the crowd, the coaches or the NBA office says. They want to get the call right."
* Ed Rush: "He is a good official, but worries too much about pleasing his superiors to be great."
* Jack Nies: "Very solid. Great to work with. A pro."
* Darell Garretson: "His ego is out of control. He is not able to keep up with the action. He should not be officiating. He also wants everybody to kiss his butt. He thinks he's the whole show."
* Jess Kersey: "He had a chance to be great, but Garretson has him too worried about making mistakes."
* Jake O'Donnell and Jack Madden: "They can be great officials, but all the bureaucracy and the inner-office politics off the court have worn them down. Sometimes, they just have nights where they're not with it."
* Steve Javie: "The best of the young officials, especially since he has started to get over his rabbit ears."
* Hugh Evans: "He's a decent ref, but spends too much time trying to emulate Garretson."
* Earl Strom: "I'm 62 and physically, I can still do the job. But I wanted to get out while I was still a good ref. Also, I didn't like the direction that officiating was taking. No one wanted me to teach young officials and I could no longer keep my mouth shut about things I saw that are obviously wrong, so I stepped away and I'm speaking out."