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LeBron James arguing with referee Mitchell Ervin. (Getty)

NBA

How much do NBA referees make a year?

Basketball is a passionate sport and referees often fuel that fire. But, how much money do NBA referees make a year for their polarizing job? We'll break it down.

LeBron James arguing with referee Mitchell Ervin. (Getty)

LeBron James arguing with referee Mitchell Ervin. (Getty)

Referees are always a subject of controversy, especially in the NBA where conspiracy theorists and sorry fans always think the game is rigged. Well, believe me, considering the salary of an NBA referee, there aren't many incentives to rig a game.

Obviously, there's the infamous Tim Donaghy scandal about fixing games for gamblers, but that isolated incident shouldn't damage the reputation of the rest of his colleagues. Once again, the NBA referee salary is substantially better than the average salary.

Moreover, these guys have to deal with the constant burden of fans jeering and cursing them, NBA players arguing every single call, and the media questioning whether they're biased or not. But, have you ever wonder how much money does NBA refs make? Let's break it down:

How Much Do NBA Referees Make?

Like most jobs, the salary of an NBA referee will vary depending on experience. Also, unlike players, their salaries aren't often common knowledge. Even so, it's known a rookie referee can make as much as $150,000 per year.

The average salary for an NBA referee is $375,000 but there are apparently veteran referees making as much as $550,000 annually, let alone all the perks (free sneakers, free tickets, first-class traveling) they get.

How Many Games Do NBA Referees Work In One Season?

Well, being an NBA ref is a full-time job, and that's why their salary is so high. They work 82 regular-season games, the same as each team. However, unlike players, they don't get to sit around for short stints, as they have to run from baseline to baseline for the full 48 minutes.

In fact, one of the biggest requirements for being an NBA referee is being physically ready to endure a full 82-game season. Also, veteran referees are often called to officiate in playoffs games, which are obviously paid extra. At least they have 3-4 months off.

Joe Crawford officiated 313 playoff games and 50 NBA Finals games, both records. (Getty)

How Much Do NBA Referees Make A Game?

Obviously, that'll depend on their experience. NBA refs making $150,000 a year can make as much as $1,829.26 a game. Those who make the average salary of $375,000 a year make $4,573.17 per game. And those referees making $550,000 annually can earn as much as $6,707.32 per game.

But if that wasn't enough, it seems like the NBA gives them huge bonuses for every playoff game they officiate. Apparently, they make $4,500 for 1st round games, $10,540 for 2nd round games, $24,790 for the Conference Finals, and $24,790 for the Finals.

How Much NBA Referees Make In One Season?

All things considered, it seems like the salary of an NBA referee can be astronomically high. I mean, a rookie referee who officiates a couple of 1st-round playoffs games can amass close to $160,000 during his first season.

Those referees who earn an average salary and officiate, say, one game per each round, can make as much as $439,620 a year, and those top-notch referees who make $550,000 per year can earn at least $614,620 per season. So, then again, we don't think there's much interest in rigging a game/series and losing that kind of dream job.

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