It would be naive to think that the players, staffs and coaches of NBA teams pay no attention to referees, to their way of directing a match, to their sensitivities on such and such a situation. Because even if homogeneity and consistency remain the golden rule at the refereeing level, in the NBA as in all the major leagues, each referee has what could be called his “specificities”.
In Toronto, we still pushed the interest in referees a little further, since Nick Nurse actually has scouting sheets on every referee in the league!
“Tony Brothers. 2,645 matches. 475 playoff games. Eight NBA Finals. And guess what? In November, December, January, February, you better get along with this guy because in June, when you want to win everything, you can be sure that he will be there”, he said during a camp organized in Hungary at the end of July.
No longer just seeing referees as whistles
The practice dates back to his arrival in 2013, when he saw that there were tensions in the relationship between referees and the Canadian franchise. The most interesting thing is that these “scouting” sheets do not necessarily allow you to list purely basketball information.
“I don’t know where they got them from, but every day when I arrive at the hall, I find a sheet corresponding to the biography of each referee. It gives: Favorite movie? The escapees. Favorite band or singer? Prince. Favorite food ? Pizza »continued the Raptors coach. “It really helped me because usually I didn’t know anything about them and then I could walk up to them and say, ‘Do you like Prince? I went to the Prince concert myself in 1984! “.
It’s hard to say if the method has helped Toronto and to what extent, especially in the quest for the 2019 title. What is certain is that Nick Nurse got to know the NBA refereeing corps better, humanize”.
“It changed the way I see them and I hope the way they see me from time to time”he concluded.
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