22 Funniest Referee and Official Blooper Videos in Basketball History

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22 Funniest Referee and Official Blooper Videos in Basketball History
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
NBA players are naturally feet taller than officials. Sometimes in college, referees have to sit down to create that kind of height disparity.

Referees, umpires and officials in all sports are usually not the most popular people in stadiums, arenas and fields: As the old officiating idiom goes, "We only please 45 percent of the fans 50 percent of the time (the other five percent are beyond all hope)."

For the men (and increasingly, women) who don the stripes, officiating quickly creates the perception that referees are only in it to ruin what would otherwise have been a good ballgame. Often, fans of both teams will tell you that any given referee has a chip on his or her shoulder, is biased, is a cheater or is below average (what happens when every official is below average?).

Coaches and players are in it to win it. Referees are in it to make sure whoever wins it has done so by following the rules of the game: Officials simply do not care who wins.

Whereas players and coaches are closely studied, celebrated tweeters and very public, officials tend to be a quieter bunch, staying out of the limelight. They surely hope that their 15 minutes of fame will be a brief comment on SportsCenter about how (s)he made a correct call.

And if the call was great enough, perhaps no one will ever remember who made it.

As such, officials have garnished reputations as these stoic, robotic creatures void of personality.

Perhaps this is why referee bloopers are so gosh darn amusing. It reminds us that the striped individuals on the court are indeed human beings like everyone else—fallible, quirky and just plain real people.

Read on to watch the funniest referee bloopers in NBA history that were caught on tape—and uploaded to YouTube for all to enjoy.


Gil Imber is Bleacher Report's Rules Featured Columnist and owner of Close Call Sports, a website dedicated to the objective and fair analysis of close or controversial calls in sports.

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