En la temporada de 1996, el polémico jugador de los Bulls, Dennis Rodman, le dio un cabezazo al árbitro Ted Bernhardt en un partido ante los Nets de Nueva Jersey. (AP)
In the 1996 season, the controversial player of the Bulls, Dennis Rodman, headbutted referee Ted Bernhardt during a game against the New Jersey Nets.

The former United States NBA referee Ted Bernhardt, passed away suddenly on Sunday night in Isabela, where he lived, confirmed his friend and also former referee, Carlos Tarrats to El Nuevo Día.

It’s devastating news. Apparently, he died of a respiratory failure. His partner called me last night to give me the news. I still can’t believe it because we were texting just last night. I was at the Quebradillas game (as the BSN refereeing coordinator), and he was thinking of going to the game, but then he wrote me that he was going to stay at home watching the NBA game,” Tarrats recounted.

”He is the third referee to pass away in a short period of time. First, Tony Brown, then Rafa Hernández, and now him. Ted made Puerto Rico his home. He used to say that he wasn’t from United States, and that he was a Puerto Rican, from Isabela,” Tarrats said, recalling that the former official worked in the lower and youth categories upon his return to the island, after retiring as an official.

Bernhardt, originally from Indiana, worked as an NBA official for 17 seasons (1988-2006) and also joined the BSN (Baloncesto Superior Nacional) in the 1990s. He officiated in the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets in 2002.

In 2013, he returned to the island and made Isabela his place of residence.

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