Imagine NBA Games Without Referees

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Imagine NBA Games Without Referees
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

No one really notices the referees in a hoops game unless they're screwing up or, like Tim Donaghy, committing outright fraud.

But we may soon be watching NBA hoop without its regular referees. An October 1st lockout date was set after contract talks broke down between the refs and the league.

Unless you’re a ref, no one will lose sleep over this. Seriously, who would miss Dick Bavetta next NBA season?

Games minus the regular refs means replacement refs, who won't be as good, but what if there were no refs in an NBA game?

Many of us have played pickup games where the argument grows fierce as the whether or not there was a foul, or a travel, or whatever. Imagine this at the NBA level with NBA players making their own calls.

Would Shaq scream foul every time he touched the ball?

It could be a disaster, but it could also eliminate one annoying aspect of the NBA, the charge. Does anyone really enjoy this call?

You'd see less offensive fouls in an NBA without officials. No one calls charging in pickup basketball, because no one tries to draw one. This might actually make the NBA game better. Offensive fouls and the guys who flop to draw them—Shane Battier, Anderson Varejao—are annoying and need to be phased out as a method of defense.

Would a religious guy like Dwight Howard be more likely to call a foul on himself than say J.R Smith?

Would the regular referees picket at NBA arenas chucking fruit at those who crossed the lines and worked as scab refs? Would referees from other sports talk up their cause?

I’m sure the lawyers and accountants will figure it all out before any sort of crisis arises, but the concept is intriguing.

What would it be like if guys respected the calls of others, didn’t flop, played games to 100 instead of being governed by the clock?

Take all fouls out on top. No free throws.

They'll play that game between the Suns and the Warriors outdoors in Indian Wells, CA on October 10. How about an exhibition without refs?

It might be better.

Then again, we might just end up with And 1 Mix Tape Tour type action.


Listen on the radio Saturday and Sunday nights—Tune into Patrick Mauro’s Sports Overnight America Weekend from 10:06 p.m. to 1 a.m. PDT

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