|Doc Rivers yells at Ed Malloy after picking up a T. (via ESPN)|
Being an NBA referee, while it's a glamorous gig, has to be one of the toughest jobs out there (note that I'm not trying to diminish what teachers, policemen, and others do.). NBA refs are told to go out each night and try to correctly call what we have instant replay for. Even if you've heard that before, try to imagine achieving that task (it's tough to!). See LeBron James running a million miles an hour down the floor? You've got to keep pace with the play AND judge whether there was any foul when he barreled into Ray Allen.
If you make the right call, the home crowd might get mad at you. If you make the wrong call, the second after that happens, before you can even correct yourself, everyone will be screaming and yelling at you to change the call. Coaches will breathe down your neck for whatever reason. No matter what decision you make, you get barked at.
Just thinking about that - not even actually experiencing it - turns me off! Refs don't have it easy and they do a tremendous job despite all that they put up with. What happens when a handful or two of calls are questionable is insane these days. Twitter, Facebook and every which way people can complain happens left and right. Luckily refs are probably tuned out from those mediums.
The players, coaches and fans are enough anyway! More complaining would be like adding three pounds of cheese to an extra cheese pizza! The refs surely have plenty on their minds. They have lives, families and their own controversies outside of work.
What's the solution to helping more people realize the refs point of view? Take a few minutes, try and imagine yourself in a refs uniform, running down the floor, blowing the whistle and then taking more flack than you probably take in a whole year from your family. Then tell me the refs suck, are against your team, or whatever excuse you want to make as to what your team didn't do for 48 minutes.
NBA basketball is undoubtedly affected by the calls referees make. To say anything else is to say that dribbling the ball down the court has no impact on the game. Of course calls can change games, series and even seasons. That's part of the game. Let's just remember a simple concept though: refs work hard, try their best and ARE human. Before we say all the refs are awful, let's keep in mind everything the refs deal with each night!