July 12: From Whistleblower to Blowing Whistles
The Story of an Undercover Agent turned NBA Ref
In 1975 while a state trooper, Delaney joined an undercover sting operation that resulted in convictions of more than 30 members of Genovese and Bruno crime families and ended Mob control of New Jersey waterfront. While wearing a wire, Delaney dealt daily with mobsters who modeled themselves after their onscreen counterparts in box office hits such as The Godfather. Delaney even crossed paths with Joe Pistone, the real-life Donnie Brasco.
Along the way, he developed Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. As a way to deal with the stress of undercover work, Delaney began officiating at high school games, eventually becoming one of the NBA’s best officials.
At left, Michael Jordan argues with Delaney over a call.
Below, Delaney has made numerous trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to help counsel troops.
Photos courtesy of Bob Delaney.
Bob Delaney became vice president NBA Referee Operations after a distinguished, 25-year career as one of the league’s most respected officials. He has received an array of prestigious honors including the Basketball Hall of Fame Human Spirit Award, President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award, the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal (from numerous trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to help counsel troops) and the National Association of Sports Officials Gold Whistle Award. He is even a member of the Dick Tracy Hall of Fame, honoring crime fighters. Delaney, who holds an M.A. in Leadership from St. Mary’s College, has dedicated more than three decades to helping soldiers, law enforcement and first responders struggling with PTSD, an issue he wrote about in his second book, Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope Into Post-Traumatic Stress.