LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Whether they’re good plays or bad plays, you’ll always remember the person calling them and some referees may stick out more than others.
One Arkansas man is making a name for himself that has nothing to do with his calls on the court, but rather the time spent on it.
“I turned 75 on the 22nd of January,’ James Givens said.
James “Old School” Givens is believed to be the oldest referee in Arkansas.
“I get asked when are you going to hang up that whistle Old School and let somebody else have a chance?” Givens said.
Off the clock, Givens is all smiles, but once the ball is in play, the game face comes out.
Givens has been calling middle and high school games for more than 30 years, meeting with teams all across the state.
“I’ve gone down south to El Dorado, and I go down to Texarkana, and called games up in Fayetteville,” Givens said.
No matter where he goes, the fundamentals of the game are always the same.
“If we show respect toward the players and the coaches, nine times out of ten we will get the same respect back and it means something,” Givens said.
At 75 years old, Givens said he has no plans of slowing down, hoping to get a few more years before his final seconds on the court.
“When everybody passes me down here, and I’m still down there, I don’t need to be out here,” Givens said.
Until then, he’ll stand on the wood floor, in the black and white uniform doing the job he loves.
“I don’t mind if the coach calls me old school, I don’t mind if he calls me Jim, but anything else disrespectful is not allowed,” Givens said.