Appreciate The Referee

By Eric Vallen

NBA Referees are atrocious. They miss several calls a game, give unnecessary technical fouls, and interpret the rules as they see fit. The average referee makes up to $500,000 a year, yet rarely are they fired despite their objective deficiencies at performing their job. Money-grubbing, blind, baby-like—all characteristics popularly attributed to the NBA referee. 

However, fans and sports loving individuals alike have to put themselves in the shoes of these referees. They quite literally work in one of the most hostile working environments on the planet. Huge, probably roided-up men are constantly yelling at them over minute mistakes, while they are meant to keep their composure. Fans will always say they could call something better or have seen something on the court ref couldn’t and that may be true. This I will ask though, what will you do once you miss a call, and Lebron James or Nikola Jokic is screaming at you? Would you keep your composure? I doubt it. 

In the average NBA game, the total fouls range from 41.6 to 48.4 fouls per game. NBA refs have to make potentially game-altering decisions every 60 seconds. This number doesn’t even take into account dead balls, tips, deflections, goaltends, and any other non-foul. In all honesty, they likely make calls every 35 to 40 seconds. On top of this, they have to run at NBA paces, “playing” more minutes than any other player on the court. NBA refs play 48 minutes a game and still manage to maintain concentration enough to make decent calls at the end of games. The average NBA star plays 36 minutes a game and has the audacity to complain about calls at every turn. 

Quite literally, NBA referees have one of the hardest jobs on the planet, running at world-class speeds and making split-second, accurate decisions on the fly every 40 seconds. Yet, if they miss just one, they’re the villain. Fans and players alike should appreciate referees more, they couldn’t do a referees job, not in the slightest.