The average salary for an NBA referee is between $180,000 and $550,000 per year. A referee is expected to officiate each of the 82 regular-season games each season to maintain this salary, which is often supplemented by different part-time jobs.
For example, Monty McCutchen works as an actor in television shows and movies as well. Another referee, Steve Javie, was a stockbroker before becoming an NBA official in 1987.
The referees are also required to attend several seminars each year to stay up-to-date with the game’s rules. They are trained by members of the NBA’s Officiating Development Program (ODP), former referees themselves.
The ODP trains about 25 referees per year, according to its website.
Becoming An NBA Referee
The most important thing that an aspiring referee must possess is strong eyesight, preferably 20/10 or better vision. Players travel at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour on the court, and officials must see everything clearly to make calls quickly.
The ability to stay calm under pressure is also essential; players and coaches can become quite angry when calls go against them, and they will often yell at officials as soon as they realize that a call has been made against them.
A good memory is also necessary; there are over 400 rules in basketball alone, and each one can be broken down into different subsections.
New rules are added every year, and referees learn how different plays work on the court; therefore, referees must remember all of these new rules and those that have been around for years.
The first step towards becoming a referee is for someone who wants to be a part of the league’s ODP program to take and pass a written test that covers all aspects of basketball play: offensive plays, defensive plays, free throws, and jump shots.
This covers nearly everything involved in basketball play except for foul calls and technical fouls (which involve conduct rather than actual play). This test contains over 100 questions and must be passed with an 80% or better score before taking the next stage.
This includes attending three different seminars over three days at either New York City or San Antonio, where the ODP training staff members will serve as instructors throughout each day’s seminar sessions.
Attendees will learn all aspects of officiating from properly running games from opening tip-off to end-of-game situations through video analysis sessions. They must take notes on what they have learned during these sessions.
After attending these sessions, a second written test must then be taken, covering all aspects covered during this seminar session and some additional material thrown into the mix. This includes rules compliance issues such as technical fouls and flagrant fouls (these tend toward personal conduct issues rather than actual rule violations).
What Do NBA Referees Do?
NBA referees are responsible for officiating NBA games. They ensure the game is played by the rules and apply penalties for violations. Referees also manage substitutions, review plays and timeouts, and conduct interviews during the game.
They may also conduct postgame press conferences with coaches and players. The referee’s responsibilities include:
- Officiating games played by professional basketball teams
- Managing gameplay by applying penalties for violations of the rules of play (foul shooting, technical fouls)
- Managing gameplay by stopping or starting play (free throws) or resuming play after a pause (defensive rebounds, out-of-bounds plays) if necessary
Playoff Salary for NBA Referees
The NBA playoffs are the last opportunity for teams to make it into the championship. They are also a time when referees get to make a lot of money.
The NBA refs get paid $150,000 for officiating in the playoffs and $100,000 for officiating in the regular season.
Mention The Average Salary Of An WNBA Referee
A WNBA referee earns approximately $16,000 a year.
What Determines an NBA Referees Salary?
The NBA referee is responsible for enforcing the rules and keeping order during NBA games. They are responsible for ensuring that the players and coaches follow the rules.
The referee is also responsible for calling fouls and penalties and determining when a player committed a violation or a rule violation.
The salary for an NBA referee will depend on how many years they’ve been in the league. Referees can make as much as $198,000 per year.
Do NBA Referees Get Paid For Their Travel?
One of the most challenging aspects of being a professional basketball referee is traveling to different cities for away games. The National Basketball Association has a strict travel policy that requires referees to travel on their dime and stay in a hotel at their own expense.
Does this mean that these referees are not compensated for their time, effort, and money spent traveling? No, it does not. The NBA compensates referees for their travel expenses.
Average Income Of An NBA Referee Compared To Other Sports Officials
Averaging out the annual income for NBA referees, they earn around $150,000 a year. This is quite a bit more than other sports officials. This is more than the MLB’s average salary of $149,500 or the NFL’s average salary of $112,000.
This is not to say that NBA referees are making more money than NFL officials. NFL officials may be making more money per game.
While these numbers seem high for a job that seems to have little responsibility, the referees have a considerable advantage in their income: they’re allowed to work other jobs during the season.
They’re not just referees for the NBA—many of them also work as lawyers and in other professions when they’re not on the court.
Not all referees make this much money, however, in fact, most make far less. Many refs are part-timers who work games in college and at lower levels of basketball during the season.
These refs make far less than their counterparts who officiate in the NBA or college. The average salary at this level is reportedly around $10,000 per year or less. This is why they take up other jobs to make a living.
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