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  1. basketball
  2. referee roles

Basketball Referee Roles

Referees are pivotal in the game of basketball, a bad referee can negatively affect the outcome of a game while a good referee makes sure the winner is decided fairly. Here is a little more information about what roles and responsibilities a referee has during a basketball game.

Table of Contents

How Many Referees In Basketball Games

The officials and referees are responsible for interpreting the rulebook and calling fouls and violations in basketball games. There are also referees that oversee statistics, scores, the game clock and shot clock, and when a player steps out of bounds.

In the NBA, there are seven officials, one crew chief, two referees, one official scorer, two trained timers, and one replay center official.

Referee Roles And Responsibilities

Referees have lots of responsibilities in a basketball game.

  • Check all game equipment (i.e. hoop, ball, backboard, floor)
  • Check the pressure of the ball between 7.5 pounds and 8.5 pounds
  • Check player's uniforms and remove illegal equipment
  • Checking team roster size and the active list
  • Toss the ball in jump balls
  • Assign possession of the ball on throw-ins
  • Giving the ball to the free throw shooter
  • Calling all fouls and violations
  • Signaling a dead ball by blowing his whistle

Basketball Crew Chief

The crew chief is the head official and always has final say in a ruling if there is a disagreement between the referees. A crew chief is a very important job and can have a huge impact on a game.

Basketball Fouls

A foul is type of a penalty given to a player and team. There are lots of fouls in basketball like flagrant fouls, personal fouls, technical fouls, team fouls, and player fouls. Referees are responsible for calling fouls when they happen on the court.

You can learn more about fouls in Basketball Fouls.

Basketball Violations

A violation is a type of a penalty like fouls, but less serious and are usually around dribbling and time mistakes. Referees are responsible for calling violations when they happen on the court.

You can learn more about violations in Basketball Violations.

Basketball Referee Signals

A referee will blow his whistle and make a signal with his or her arms and hands when a call is made. There are lots of referee signals in basketball, which are important because a good referee is efficient and can communicate with other referees, coaches, and players in an effective manner. When referees huddle up to discuss a call, it slows down the game and can ruin a game's flow and rhythm. This makes a referee's knowledge of hand signals hugely important.


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