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NBA Referee Eric Lewis Abruptly Retires Before Twitter Burner Drama Can Be Resolved

3:35 PM EDT on August 30, 2023

Referee Eric Lewis #42 looks on during the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors during the Western Conference Semi Finals of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2023 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA's formal investigation into the activities of anonymous Twitter account @CuttliffBlair has been closed, with no resolution. That's because NBA referee Eric Lewis, the man whose honor was defended by said account, told the league on Wednesday that he is retiring, effective immediately. Fans and LeBron James won't get clarity on who was running @CuttliffBlair, but the flip side is that Lewis won't be officiating in the league anymore.

The NBA's terse statement on the matter:

NBA referee Eric Lewis has informed the league office that he is retiring, effective immediately. In light of his decision, the NBA's investigation into social media activity has been closed.

Online sleuths discovered @CuttliffBlair during the second round of the NBA playoffs, immediately suspicious of a zero-follower account committed to defending Lewis's reputation, beefing with fans who complained about NBA officiating, and using evocative phrases like "the rig narrative" and "smurfs taking over London." The account spent most of its time arguing with Lakers fans with a grudge against Lewis. Whoever ran the account, which was deleted shortly after it started receiving attention, denied they were Lewis and instead claimed to be his brother Mark, tweeting, "I'm sorry I put E in this situation but this ain't Watergate."

Regardless, the NBA pulled Eric Lewis from Finals duty and opened an investigation. In a case of uncanny timing, he's now retired and the investigation is closed. Huh! Some sort of resolution would've been helpful.

Though he was not considered by Defector's resident NBA refereeing expert Ray Ratto to be one of the league's premier officials, Lewis had worked games for 19 years, and 2023 was the first time he missed out on a Finals assignment in five years. At least in his final season, Lewis was part of one last highlight with Patrick Beverley.

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