Think You Could Be an NBA Referee? Take This Quiz!


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: StanislawPytel/DigitalVision/gettyimages

About This Quiz

Hey NBA fans, get your whistles ready because it's time to find out if you have what it takes to be an NBA referee. It's not the easiest job in the world. Fans are going to heckle you, players are going to argue, and coaches are going to yell. But, when you put those things aside, you will find that refereeing is one of the most important jobs on the basketball court. Do you think you can do it? Here's your chance to find out with this NBA quiz!

Of course, you need to know the rules and regulations of the NBA before you start, and rules in the NBA are not always the easiest to understand. They require a dedicated official who can comprehend even the most detailed nuances of a rule. Does that sound like you? 

If you believe you know enough about the NBA that you could be a referee in the league, prove it by taking this quiz, but make sure you are ready before you get started because this quiz will be a challenge for even the most dedicated NBA fans. Get started and see if you should make a career change and become an NBA referee. 

How do you start an NBA game?

The first professional basketball team to tip-off in Canada was the Toronto Huskies. They played one season from 1946 to 1947.


What's an infraction on the court called?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds several records in the NBA. One of those records is the most fouls in an NBA career, which isn't his proudest record.


How many points is a free throw worth?

In game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, George Hill missed a game-winning free throw with only a few seconds left on the clock. The game went into overtime and Cleveland lost, despite 51 points from Lebron James.


How many points is a shot worth?

If Lebron James continues his current pace, he will break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record for points in a career. However, Kevin Durant is nipping at Lebron's heels for that record as well.


How long is an NBA quarter?

There are 82 games in an NBA regular season. In the modern era, players rarely play all 82 games, leaving many fans disappointed.


How much time is on the NBA shot clock?

There was a time when professional basketball didn't have a shot clock. Teams would get ahead and hold onto the ball, making for a very slow and boring game.


How long is NBA overtime?

In 1951, the Indianapolis Olympians and the Rochester Royals played a game that went into six overtimes. The game lasted 78 minutes, making it the longest game in NBA history.


What's a shot made off a pass called?

Earvin "Magic" Johnson received his nickname because of his incredible passing ability. People thought he was a magician on the court.


What's it called when a player collects a missed shot?

Wilt Chamberlain holds the NBA record for most rebounds in a career. He finished with 23,924 career rebounds.


How many players are allowed on the court for one team?

Teams are allowed to play with less than five players. However, they are at a severe disadvantage.


How long is an NBA basketball court?

Russell Westbrook, the point guard for the Thunder, is known for his explosive rim to rim ability. In 2017, he won the NBA MVP by averaging a triple-double.


How wide is an NBA basketball court?

Scottie Pippen was one of the greatest defenders in NBA history. He was known for his ability to guard from boundary line to boundary line.


How far back from the NBA backboard is the free throw line?

In a game against the New York Knicks, Wilt Chamberlain hit 28 free throws, setting an NBA record. That record was tied in 1984 by Adrian Dantley.


How far back is the three-point line at the top of the arc from the basket?

Steph Curry holds the NBA record for most three-point shots made in a game at 13. He set the record with only 17 attempted shots.


What's called if you pick up the ball after dribbling then dribble again?

Kyrie Irving has made a name for himself as one of the best ball-handlers in the league. His skills have helped him reach the NBA Finals three times, winning once.


A defender has to be where for a charge to be called?

The Celtics have more NBA championships than any other team in NBA history. Most of those championships were won in the '50s and '60s.


What's it called if the defender is in the restricted area when they make contact with the offensive player?

Bill Russell played for the Celtics from 1956 until 1969. During that span, he won 11 NBA titles.


What is it called when an offensive player tries to stop a defender from guarding the ball-carrier?

Karl Malone was given the nickname "The Mailman" because of his pick and roll offense. He would set a screen and roll to the basket where he received a pass and scored.


What type of foul is called when neither team possesses the ball?

Michael Jordan dominated the league during the '80s and '90s, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. He is widely regarded as the greatest player of all-time.


How many fouls does it take for a player to foul out?

Ron Artest was widely regarded as a dirty player. His defensive antics caused multiple fights throughout his career, including with fans.


On which foul does a team go into the bonus?

Shaquille O'Neal was a force during his time in the NBA, but his free throw ability was quite pitiful. Some teams fouled him on purpose when they reached the penalty so he would have to shoot free throws.


What foul is called when you impede the progress of the opposing ball-handler?

Hand-checking wasn't banned from the NBA until 2004. The rule made defense much more difficult and increased the speed of the game.


Which type of foul gives your team the ball back after shooting two foul shots?

Lance Stephenson and Lebron James have a history of tough play against one another, which involved several flagrant fouls in the 2018 playoffs. Strangely, when James signed with the Lakers following the 2018 season, Stephenson signed with the team as well.


Which foul is called if you interfere with the ball being put into play?

Delay of game calls are viewed as pointless mistakes by the offenders. It takes mental discipline to make sure those mistakes don't happen.


Where must a player go before coming into the game?

The NBA gives out a Sixth Man of the Year Award each year to the best bench player. Lou Williams, who played for the Clippers, received​ the award in 2018.


What type of foul is given for fighting another player?

Rasheed Wallace holds the record for the most technical fouls in an NBA season. He set the record during the 2000-01 season with 41 technical fouls.


Who is ejected if two players fight?

Rasheed Wallace has by far the most ejections in NBA history. He was kicked out of games 29 times.


Where can a defender use their forearm on the offensive player?

Kevin Durant has proven that he's a nightmare for defenders. Throughout his career, he's averaged over 27 points per game.


When can a defender position their leg between the legs of an offensive player?

Despite playing in the early years of the NBA, Bill Russell is still recognized for his defense in the post. He was excellent with his man-to-man defense and shot-blocking ability.


How many free throws does a player get for a personal foul where the basket is made?

Karl Malone spent his career playing for the Utah Jazz and one season with the L.A. Lakers. During that span, he made 9,787 free throws, more than any other player in NBA history.


What happens if two players from opposing teams both have possession of the ball?

The first NBA game recognized by the league was played in 1946. The game pitted the Toronto Huskies against the New York Knickerbockers.


What is it called when a defender takes the ball away from the ball-carrier?

John Stockton, who played for the Utah Jazz, set the NBA record for steals in a career. When his career ended, he had racked up 3,265 steals.


What type of foul is called on a defender who hits a player shooting the ball?

Dwayne Wade is a master at drawing shooting fouls. Some referees want even give him the foul anymore because it seems unfair to the defender.


How many free throws are awarded for a foul on a player shooting in the paint when the shot is NOT made?

Referees have been criticized for not calling fouls on Lebron James. His physical style of play, however, would end in a foul on almost every possession if they were all called.


Which type of foul does NOT go toward team fouls?

Big men who lacked agility often rack up offensive fouls because they can't squeeze around defenders who are ready to take a charge. Players like Kemba Walker and Draymond Green are excellent at drawing charges, especially on the more unathletic players.


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