Basketball Referees
By Claire Miles - October 24, 2022

To provide a level playing field and prevent either team from having an undue edge, officials are crucial to each basketball game. A basketball official is tasked with identifying any rule infractions and applying the proper sanctions. The referee in basketball must maintain order and ensure that all regulations are followed, much like any other referee in sports. When the rules are broken, they are free to call fouls and violations, but they must execute the penalties to keep the game moving. No matter the call or the time of the game, all decisions made by the officials are final. If there is any disagreement, it always falls to the crew chief or senior official.

Getty images/Photographer’s Choice RF/David Madison

The referees have several duties that take place before the game at any level of basketball. They must ensure that every uniform is worn properly and that there are no obvious infractions. Additionally, they will check the game ball, baskets, and court to ensure that everything is adequate and prepared for use. The referees typically meet with the team leaders to talk through any particular matters they need to cover or basic game preparations. When the rules are broken, the referee’s primary responsibility on the basketball floor is to call fouls and issue calls. They must always perform to the best of their abilities without making arbitrary judgments.

Aside from keeping watch of the game time and addressing arguments from coaches and players, officials are also responsible for declaring fouls and other violations during a match. Since even the slightest mental slip-up might increase the gap between making the correct or wrong call, officials must stay concentrated and in the right place during the whole game. Each NBA game has three officials on the court, and the title and scope of each official’s duties vary. The terms crew chief, referee, and umpire apply to these three people. The official at the replay center is a different category of an official who is seldom depicted on television. The on-court officials frequently consult the replay official when a close play happens and are unsure how to rule confidently in real time.