Behind The Whistle - 5 Things To Know About The Life Of An NBA Referee

Do you look good in stripes and are considering a career change? Update your LinkedIn profile because this job’s for you.

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1. While you’re going to have to work your way up through the system, NBA (National Basketball Association) referees take home anywhere between $150,000-$550,000, depending on experience. (That’s more than any WNBA – Women’s National Basketball Association - player makes). They receive bonuses for officiating playoff games and the dollar amount depends on the importance of the game (i.e. you make more money working the finals). NAME YOUR PRICE

2. Remember Billy Crystal traveling the nation as an NBA referee in the movie Forget Paris? It wasn’t his best flick but like his character, referees travel for work 25 days a month for eight months. That equates to calling 65-70 games in an 82-game season, not including playoffs. HIT THE ROAD JACK

3. Imagine being called out by your boss every time you present in a meeting. That’s what happens to the referees in the NBA’s two minute reports. The public report critiques the referees’ calls within the last two minutes of the game and overtime. The refs also review tape after games to make sure they’re at the top of their game. AND YOU THOUGHT YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW WAS TOUGH

4. It's not all mental. They have to be physically fit too because they’re running up and down the court for the entire 48 minutes alongside the players. Referees work on their fitness regimen in the off-season like any athlete would and they train their brains by utilizing virtual reality.  GAMING THE GAME

5. There are two women referees who take the court. Ashley Moyer-Gleich and Natalie Sago are the fourth and fifth women in NBA history to become a referee.  CLIMBING THE LADDER