If there’s one thing that has been a constant in the NBA over the past couple decades, it has to be the very bad officiating. Not even Bill Walton can convince me otherwise. I wrote about ways to change the referee system awhile back, which included forcing the geezers off the court and into retirement. Alas, the NBA hasn’t addressed one of these issues, but it looks like one might finally be under consideration. The NBA desperately needs to have guys in their physical prime running around with these tremendous athletes to make sure that they are getting calls right. The NBA is set to start its preseason games in a few weeks (October 1st), it has been reported that the NBRA (National Basketball Referees Association) will be locking out unless a new agreement is reached as the old one expired at the beginning of September. Apparently the NBRA proposed to take about $2.5 million (10%) off of last season’s budget. This wasn’t convincing enough as Stern rejected the proposal, and the two sides haven’t set a new time to meet since the deal was rejected. The NBA is facing the most problems it has since the Flint Tropics ABA/NBA merger days, and needs the refs to suck it up if they want to work. Larnell McMorris, the head NBRA representative says that Stern’s actions are childish, and feels that the league is trying to push the “old guys” out.
This is the first time in a long time that I might actually be on Commissioner Stern’s side for any issue that has come up in recent memory! I hope they lock out, and I hope Stern holds firm on his stance. If he truly is using this as a reason to get the “old guys” out I applaud it 100%. It’s really the first action I’ve seen him take since he became commissioner that moves towards correcting an obvious problem that is revisited year after year with each bad call made. Sadly I’ve actually watched some D-League games, and the ones that I have watched I noticed their refs actually do call pretty good games. Guess what, most of them look young and don’t give the players as much attitude as the pro refs which I like. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the refs were there just to call the game instead of settling the score with some superstar that showed them up by barking at them!?! I’m crossing my fingers that the officiating will better during this October 1st lockout then I could see the NBRA folding to whatever the NBA’s demands are. I wouldn’t mind if they locked our for the season, and we could try out these younger refs that might actually make the right call or non-call during the pivotal playoff games. For the first time since 95-96 the league will set up a training camp for replacement refs, so lets hope they find some good ones!