The NBA will give fans the chance to ask questions directly to league referees during a pair of regular season games next week, according to ESPN. Fans will be able to tweet at the account @OfficialNBARefs or use the hashtag #RefWatchParty to garner responses from officials who will be following the games in real time.
The first instance of the social media initiative will be Monday night when the Warriors visit the Lakers on TNT. The next time will be Wednesday night when the Spurs take on the 76ers on ESPN.
The @OfficialNBARefs account has been part of an attempt at outreach on officiating by the league and its referees. It often relays information on controversial calls that occur during games or clarifies rules to fans.
Hey Matthew, thanks for the question. Rule 10 section XIII says "the first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball." In other words, after "gaining control" (or the "gather") a player is THEN allowed two full steps. https://t.co/U9IZT9CaAp— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) January 15, 2019
Now they’re going to take it a step further by focusing directly on two games and letting fans ask a stream of questions about various calls. Given how often there’s debate over what’s a foul and what isn’t (and so much more), it’ll be interesting to see how this could add to the viewing experience.
The last time the National Basketball Referees Association tried something like this was during Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals. According to ESPN, the NBA and the NBRA plan to do a series of games where fans can interact with referees in the coming months.