Oh woe is referee, woe is referee! It ain't easy being an NBA official – you rarely get told you did a good job, but are regularly lambasted when one team feels you did 'em wrong; you claim to run five miles a game but still manage to maintain a beer belly; and you can't even wear sweet, freaky sneakers in all sorts of colours like the animals on the hardcourt you're trying to control can. A ref never features in a 'Best Kicks on Court' article, and not just 'cos all refs are lames, but also because their sneaks aren't particularly photogenic – they have to be all black. Black on black on black. Triple Black. (Side note: what have they really got to complain about, Triple Black sneaks are some of the most popular in the game right now)
In an article for Sports Illustrated, a few refs spoke about the task of finding footwear to slink around the hardcourt in. Interestingly, despite claiming their range of movement is much the same as that of B-Ball player, a lot of refs wear running shoes, with Nike Air Max and New Balance being particularly popular. Also slightly intriguing (on a slow news day), many of 'em buy in bulk, we're talking like 20+ pairs at a time. They be like, 'I want that one, give me all you've got of that one.' A ref quoted also said they the whistle-blowers care about swaggin' out with style just a little bittle, and is surprised sneaker companies have never come at refs with free gear.
They are indeed a visible presence, but look at that photo above, they may as well be wearing work boots, it's pretty tough to tell what they're rocking. I think I see an Air Max bag, I think. If you're just a little too interested in this facet of the B-Ball footwear world, read the rest of the article here.