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Ref who cost Nuggets a game could be back -- as a scab

With a possible referees' strike looming over the 2009-2010 NBA season, the league is assembling a roster of potential replacement officials willing to cross picket lines in order to take whistle between teeth in prime time again. Among those listed is Michael Henderson, whose union went to extraordinary measures to protest punishment meted out against him because of a call that turned a Nuggets victory into a loss a few years back.

The incident took place in 2004, during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With only seconds remaining, guard Andre Miller tossed up an off-the-mark shot that Carmelo Anthony put back, giving the Nuggets the lead. However, Henderson disallowed the bucket, claiming that Miller's miss hadn't touched the rim, resulting in a 24-second violation -- something definitively shown to be untrue in replays. Nevertheless, the Lakers were awarded the ball, and Kareem Rush (now a guard with the 76ers) promptly drained a three-pointer to give the Lake Show the win. Afterward, the NBA rebuked Henderson -- a then-rare action that most of his fellow referees commented upon one night by turning their uniform shirts inside out and writing Henderson's number, 62, on the back.

Now, Henderson, who was later fired, seems ready to thank the refs for their support by acting as a scab. Betcha they're no happier at the thought of him calling games again than the Nuggets are.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts