New Jersey City University honors former officer-turned NBA referee

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JERSEY CITY -

A former New Jersey police officer-turned NBA referee was honored by New Jersey City University.

Paterson native Bob Delaney was awarded the Presidential Medallion from the university. It is one of the school’s top honors. Delaney attended the university for a time and says receiving the award is a great honor.

"That's my foundation. I played basketball there, but I learned not only the game of basketball, but the game of life,” he says.

Delaney dropped out of college one year short of getting his degree in order to become an undercover police officer. He says that he lived for three years with a different identity, taking down some of New Jersey’s top criminals.

"Lying is one of the most stressful things that anyone can do,” Delaney says.

Delaney suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome from his time as an undercover officer. He says that he has flashbacks, but that he wasn’t going to go into hiding. He retired from the force after 14 years and became an NBA referee full-time.

"Players knew my background. Karl Malone said to me ‘You're the man on the floor, you're the man off the floor.’ Kobe said to me ‘What was that like? Wearing a wire? That must've been cool,’” Delaney says.

The 66-year-old referee told students at New Jersey City University that they should lead and inspire the next generation by making the world a positive place.

"We're all involved with so many things in life and resiliency is so important,” he says.

Delaney returned to New Jersey City University to complete his degree in criminal justice. He earned a master’s degree in leadership. He travels the world working with the United States military as an NBA ambassador to explore social problems.

Former President Barack Obama presented Delaney with the Volunteer Service Award for his work with post-traumatic stress. He has also been recognized by the Army and the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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