How To Become An NBA Referee – All You Need To Know

Last Updated on March 16, 2023 by

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Why do you need to become a basketball official? Or even how to become an NBA referee? Maybe you have just broken your ankle, or a long schedule of classes does not let you take part in the basketball game.

But if you‘re someone who loves this game, wants to be consistently active, and stay involved with the game, then there is obviously a way to do it by becoming a referee.

By establishing yourself as a basketball referee, you can certainly fulfill your wish to stay connected in a game that you truly care about. The question comes again- how to become a basketball referee?

Basketball referees enforce the rules, detect infractions, check a player’s safety, and track the time duration of the match. There will be so much pressure over your shoulder because not everyone will agree with your decision. You may need to work in the evenings and holidays whenever a game is scheduled to happen.

The NBA definitely provides a golden opportunity for the referees to think about. From the stats, in the 2014-15 season of NBA, 63 referees did their job on the roster. Yeah, they are paid for their service. But how much they are paid depends on their level of officiating and handling the game.

So if you are interested in building up a career in officiating the basketball game, don’t think that’s a tough task by any means. You have played the game before, so you know all the basics. That makes your qualification for most recreational events.

But to make a greater success out of it, you need to prepare yourself tactfully. Whether you’re planning to officiate in NBA or any other state you live in, few things are really common which you must not forget.

And if you can continue the good work for a certain period of time, maybe not too many days are left before you will be making your debut as an NBA official. SO here is what you can do:

1. Grasp the rules

If you want to become a basketball official, your first step towards it will be learning the basic rules inside and out. Yeah, you might have played in your high school or college games quite a while ago. So rules might have been changed a bit since your playing days. Therefore you need to see what are the changes they have made to the game.

You must start all over again and get accustomed to the game actions. Besides, it will be no harm if you want to polish up your basketball knowledge a bit more.

To be a professional referee, you must develop a habit of making the right calls quickly without any dilemma in mind. The more you understand the rules and regulations of the NBA, the better it will be for you to prosper in the long run.

How do you become an nba referee? For better results you can do as follows:

  • You can borrow or buy a book/videotape to learn the basics. Most people follow NCAA or NBA rules. Some states/region may have their own rule books. It definitely depends on you where you should be applying later.
  • So now the foundation has been laid, and you can start thinking about the game strongly. Signals are crucial to have a better understanding of the game. Use your hands and practice signaling. You must imagine yourself now you’re in the middle of an NBA court and officiating the game. So, executing these signals may prove beneficial.
  • Do not just rely on the books/videos, even when you’re watching a live game on tv or at the court, observe how officials are monitoring and enforcing the rules into the game. This will also give you an idea about how to take charge of the game

2. Requires Training

Various basketball organizations, basketball school and colleges have introduced NBA referee training programs that will teach you how to elucidate the rules, show good sportsmanship, dealing with coaches, players and maintain excellence. Game rules and refereeing skills will be taught there. Both classroom and field learning can be part of these training programs.

Because of the fast paced nature of the game so often, you will need to run down the court. This is why you need to remain fit both physically and mentally. These organizations arrange specific basketball referee training sessions which you need to go through before officiating a match. Such as the USA basketball program offers national level training for officials.

You can prepare yourself for both recreational and school basketball programs by going through the rigorous training sessions provided by these organizations.

Also, you can google various basketball referee training videos. You shall be credited with certifications for your qualification by some of the courses.

3. Become Certified

Basketball referee qualifications are something you can’t overlook. Depending on where you want to officiate, you must apply for certification to a local officiating authority. This is not a tough job to apply for certification. At some point in your life, you must have filled application forms online. This is as simple as that.

  • Your academic background will be checked.
  • Some may offer to you levels of referee certifications depending on your experience and skill criteria.
  • You may need to attend meetings with other officials whenever you get the certification paper ready.
  • May require to pay a fee for your certification.

4. Make connections

You can contact recreational basketball organizations and fill application forms for referee jobs. This is never a bad idea to get involved with a local association too. If you get the opportunity to start, ask your colleagues some serious questions about the game.

That will be proof of your seriousness and commitment to the game. An impression will be created and that will work in your favor later on.

If you don’t have an option, while attending a game as a spectator, you can ask officials about whom you need to contact.

5. Gather experience

As you are just a beginner, you need to gather experience from somewhere to get into the big leagues. Plenty of options are available for you. You can communicate with local parks, recreational organizations, community centers for information on recreational basketball leagues happening around your living region. Also, you should be on your toes for the betterment of your career by working closely with an organization.

  • Start with refereeing in children’s game; you can use the experience of working with these youth programs to qualify for basketball officiating jobs at the upper level/professional sports. At least you can practice simple officiating procedures there.
  • Also, children tend to play the game at a slower pace compared to adults. This will allow you to take more time to settle in and learn everything.

6. Always follow the lead referee

In a basketball game, one lead referee takes charge of the game, and the other two umpires assist him. You will see the most established referees as the leading referees.

  • Besides your own duties, take a closer look at how the lead referee runs the game and then learn the method.
  • Question them and talk about various aspects of a basketball game. Try to take a few tips which you can apply in umpiring.

7. Never stop learning

You need to continue learning about different aspects of the game to be an officiate in basketball. A clear understanding of the official basketball rules is mandatory to apply them most effectively on the court. You also have to remain updated because rules can be modified or removed, and new rules can be included too.

  • Attend training programs to develop your officiating skills.
  • Acquiring more credentials shall effectively make your transition from a non-professional officiate to the top-level one.

8. Register Wherever you Can

Building up a greater understanding of the game is so important. The only way to do it is to officiate in as many games as possible. So, register with the local basketball association, high school, etc.

Requirements may be different depending on the state and organizations. Check out websites too. You may need to complete field tests, written exams, or formal training classes.

Thus both physically and mentally, how you can handle the game in a pressure situation will be tested.

9. Sit for NCAA officiating exam

Now that you have spent a considerable amount of time officiating at the high school, so choosing to officiate in college level games won’t be that of a bad idea.

  • You may need to attend an officiating clinic to learn the significant elements of working as a referee.
  • Register an account in the NCAA website, get a scheduled time, date and location for the exam.

10. Officiating in NBA

Finally. Oh! Yes. You are just about there. After contributing as an official in the college basketball games, now you have what it just takes to serve as an NBA official.

  • Apply to NBA on their official website.
  • You have everything under your belt. That’s why you officiated both in high school and college. So no worries over any more requirements.
  • At first, you probably won’t get the chance to officiate in high profile games. But through performance and goodwill, you shall surely climb up the ladder.

We assume now you have got your answer on how to become a professional basketball referee.

Give A Thought To Some Important Things

1. Body Fitness

As a basketball officiate while on the court, you won’t be getting too many opportunities for rest. You need to move quickly according to the position of the players. In the meantime, because of the nonstop running throughout the court, your physical ability will be challenged. Dehydration is something very common not just in basketball, in fact in every sport.

During a game, an official needs to run almost between 1 to 3.5 miles. Also, with the years passing by, you will get older. So, physical capability plays a pivotal role in both the players and officials.

2. Mental Fitness

While performing basketball referee jobs, besides taking the position quickly, you need to give total concentration into the game almost every time. Fans, coaches, even players can say trash talks to you, but you need to keep yourself calm and focus on your job at hand. Your other two assistant officials need to co-operate with you as well.

3. Equipment you require

  • Athletic black colored, polished shoes
  • Socks(Black)
  • Beltless slacks(Black)
  • Stripped V-neck shirt(with no collar)
  • Whistle
  • lanyard

This all about how to become an NBA referee and how to be a successful referee. Hope You learn a lot. Thanks for reading. 

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