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The Difficulties of Being an NBA Referee


Becoming an NBA referee is no easy task. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and the rewards are tremendous.

As one of the most scrutinized positions in professional sports, refs must be able to handle high levels of psychological pressure, while also maintaining impartiality and running around the court all game long.

It’s no wonder that the physical demands are high – refs must be able to run a mile in under six minutes, jump up and touch the top of the backboard without being inhibited, and squat 3 times their body weight without any problems.

So, if you’re interested in a career in professional sports refereeing, be prepared for a lot of hard work and long hours. But the rewards – both on the court and off – are definitely worth it!


The different types of calls referees make

Becoming a professional NBA referee is a demanding and difficult job. It takes years of training and experience to be able to handle the different types of calls referees make.

Technicals are the most common, and happen when an individual commits a flagrant foul – considered by most as a dirty play in basketball.

  • Timeouts are called to stop the game for a brief period of time so that players can catch their breath or get water (or ice) on the injury they sustained minutes earlier.


There are three types of calls referees make – fouls, timeouts, and technicals.

  • Fouls happen when one player is impeding the progress of their opponent physically or using illegal tactics such as pushing and shoving.
  • Timeouts are also used to stop the game for strategic reasons, such as the referee wanting to get the ball back in play quickly.
  • Finally, technicals are rare but can occur when the referee believes a player has violated the game’s officiating rules.


Constant Ridicule

There isn’t a day that goes by where NBA referees are not ridiculed. It seems like every game, there is something wrong with the call and the refs always get the short end of the stick.

Despite this constant bashing, many refs continue to put their heart and soul into their job – true professionals who never give up no matter what. In fact, being an NBA referee is one of the greatest jobs in the world!

The passion they share for basketball is infectious and it’s amazing to witness them officiating games with so much intensity and enthusiasm.

No matter how bad things seem at any given time, these guys will continue fighting until everything comes right for basketball fans around the world!


Do all referees need to have a college degree?

Although attending a college or university for four years is not required to become an umpire or referee, many of these officials do have college degrees. It is not uncommon for sports officials to be former collegiate athletes who made the decision to enter the sports industry in a role other than competing.


At what age can someone start working as a referee?

Referees under the age of sixteen are only permitted to work games in which the players’ ages are at least one year younger than their own. It is possible for a referee to work in “Open age” adult football once they reach the age of sixteen; however, it is recommended that referees at this age continue to work in youth football until they are ready to advance.


Beards are allowed for NBA officials, right?

This year, the National Football League (NFL) relaxed its policies regarding facial hair and permitted officials to grow beards in honor of No Shave November, also known as “Movember.” Movember is a movement in which men commit to not shaving their facial hair for the entire month of November in order to raise awareness and funds for causes related to men’s health and suicide prevention.

There are no beards among the officials of the NBA; however, there are a few tattoos that are difficult to spot.


Are tattoos permitted on referees?

The Football Association has issued a warning to referees, advising them not to grow beards or display tattoos. According to reports, non-league referees who aspire to work in the English Football League are instructed by the Football Association to conceal any visible tattoos and maintain a clean-shaven appearance.


What exactly is a referee at Level 5?

Both level 5 referees and level 7/6 officials have the ability to act as assistant referees in supply league matches. This is a supply league perk. (like the Spartan League, for example)


Are referees expected to work a full-time schedule?

Between the conclusion of the regular season and the middle of May, referees go through what is commonly known as their “dark period.” This is the time of year, as well as the summer months, when they concentrate their efforts on their other job. During the season, they are essentially full-time employees of the league and are responsible for all of its operations.


When the season is over, what do referees do with their time?

The National Football League (NFL) hosts two clinics for its officials during the offseason in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The first will cover any newly implemented regulations, physical examinations, and administrative alterations.

The second phase consists of written exams that test the candidates’ understanding of the rules, the mechanics for their positions, and their mobility on the field.


What are some synonyms for the word referee?

Referee is a word that has 30 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words. Some of these words are judge, arbiter, arbitrator, determine, official, decide, rule, ref, umpire, conciliator, and intermediary. You can find all of these words and more on this page.



As a referee in the NBA, you have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the players and refereeing the game to the best of your ability. You will face many challenging situations during a game, but with the right preparation and mental toughness, you can handle them with ease.

Make sure to read our blog for more information on becoming a professional referee in the NBA. You never know, it might just be the right step for you!



Fact Check


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This piece of content was the collaborative effort of a few different authors and editors here at Sports Clips.

When it comes to the production of the articles that can be seen on the website, it is not at all unusual for our writers and other members of the team to work together on the project.

This is only one of many examples like this. This is the reason why there is more than one author listed for this article.


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  • Post last modified:September 15, 2022
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