The National Basketball Referees Association is improving understanding of one of the toughest jobs in sports by hosting a series of #RefWatchParty events on Twitter. The initiative, after a trial run during last year’s NBA Finals, is expanding into the regular season.
Let’s say you represent a line of work that, to put it nicely, is often derided by both the public and the people it serves.
How do you help people better understand your work? Well, if you run the National Basketball Referees Association, you take your case to Twitter. This week, NBRA is teaming with Twitter to host #RefWatchParty, which allows people to reach out to the association’s Twitter account to ask questions about refereeing during select games.
It’s not the first time NBRA has tried this—it did so last year, during Game 3 of the NBA Finals—but the initiative was so successful at improving understanding of the refs’ work that the association and league decided to bring it back during the regular season.
The @OfficialNBARefs #RefWatchParty is returning next week, live from the NBA Replay Center – offering live commentary and real-time officiating insights. Get your questions answered during NBA games on @NBAonTNT and @ESPNNBA using #RefWatchParty. More details to come: pic.twitter.com/uXLS5hgMlA
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) January 17, 2019
AdWeek reports that the National Basketball Association will help market the Twitter campaign during a select number of games—this week, two nationally televised games, including the contest on January 23 between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.
Anyone who’s officiated or tried to officiate understands the terrible feeling when you miss this type of call. It's tantamount to missing a wide-open layup, or a game-tying free throw. We know we can't get everything right, but missing calls keeps us up at night. #RefWatchParty
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) January 22, 2019
On Monday night, NBRA responded in real time to questions about specific plays during a contest between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, offering a sober, nonemotional perspective of what can sometimes be an emotional sport.
In fact, the association made the point that this is something its members have to do on the court as well.
“We must be calm at all times. It ensures clear and concise decision making as everyone around us is (understandably) emotional,” the account tweeted during the third quarter. “We are able to enjoy a great dunk after the game in the locker room.”
AdWeek adds that the league and NBRA anticipate hosting #RefWatchParty events more often during the regular season and even during the NBA playoffs.