Explained! How much do NBA referees get paid per year?


With power comes great responsibility. Playing a crucial role in every game series, the NBA referees outperform their duty in every match. Known for maintaining the integrity of the world’s premier basketball league, they are proficient in everything they do. NBA, the world’s premier basketball league consists of 30 major teams.

Likewise, NBA game has 120 pre-season games, 1260 regular season games and 4 rounds of playoffs. To be attentive and flawless in NBA games, NBA referees have to be proficient and smart in handling all positions.

Well, it takes 3Cs to become a perfect NBA referee viz Calmness, Confidence, Concentration. Maintaining calmness and making an accurate call during a high-pressure game is a sign of true NBA referee. Hence, everyone has an eye on their big fat earnings. Nevertheless, what NBA referee earns is a talk of the town currently. This article will provide you complete information related to estimated salaries of NBA referees.

Average Income of NBA Referee:

The average income of NBA referees may vary from $1,90,000 to $6,00,000 per year. Interestingly, the average NBA referee income might reach a whopping $10,000 per NBA game in the first rounds of the playoffs. Furthermore, the remuneration of NBA referee increases as per matches.

How much do NBA Referees make?:

As per the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is clearly stated that NBA crew members have to be paid atleast $8,98,310 and beyond. However, it also depends on the service time, expertise level and years of experience.

The NBA referee pay varies according to the different positions and categories of the officials. A full-time working referee, entry-level referees or rookies are paid around $2,50,000 or $600 per game. Further, the WNBA referees receive the lowest pay of $1,90,000 or $425 per game. These are estimated figures and they change as per time and experience level.

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NBA Referee Image, How to become an NBA Referee?

Senior-level NBA referees have five to seven years of experience. At the seniority level, NBA referees are paid around $3,500 to $5,000 per game as per their skills and expertise. Annually, their salaries go beyond half a million dollars. That’s a whopping amount.

After being senior, NBA referees become eligible to participate in officiate postseason tournaments. Here, they can earn as high as $10,000 per game. Likewise, it can increase up to $30,000 to $40,000 in the semifinal and final games.

The NBA Referees get perks and benefits like travel expenses, provision for retirement plans and insurance plans. The National Basketball Referees’ Association (NBRA) is the official representative committee.

WNBA Referees – Yearly Earnings are around 15K-20K US Dollars

Entry Level NBA Referees – Yearly Earnings are around 150K-160K US Dollars

Professional NBA Referees – Yearly Earnings are around 550K – 570K US Dollars

How to become an NBA Referee?

The requisites and eligibility to become a professional NBA referee are mentioned in the official NBA website. Candidate’s profile, employment background and history, referee clips and overall health are checked by NBA scouting team.

Fortunately, there are many other basketball leagues through which you can become an NBA Referee. Basketball expertise and skills are needed to succeed in this field.

Also Check:- How much does an NBA scout get?

NBA Referee
NBA Referee

Here’s a list of some skills that a Professional NBA Referee requires:

1. Patience:

Whatever you accomplish, you have to be patient enough. As an athlete, you may have to encounter a number of challenges and heated moments. But a good NBA Referee is the one who cools down the situation.

2. Clear Communication:

Excellent communication is a sign of professional NBA referee. The referee has to have good communication with team, coach and other squad members. Likewise, they have to become their problem solver when times are challenging.

3. Rules expertise:

NBA Referee is an expert. Therefore, he has to possess an in depth knowledge for game rules and hand signals of the game.

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The following steps can help you to pursue NBA referee position:

  1. Get a high school diploma/degree

2. Work or become a trainee referee for youth basketball tournaments

3. Register to work as a high school athletics coach or squad member

4. You need to register to officiate via National College Athletic Association (NCAA)

5. You can attend referee tryouts for the NBA G League

6. Get recommendations from superiors to work as an NBA referee

Final Words:

Even female candidates can apply to become NBA referees. In 2020 – 2021 season has a total of 7 female NBA referees.

Becoming an NBA referee is actually a very difficult job but with right guidance and practice, you can be in that position and draw that “Dream Salary” of a professional NBA referee.

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