The Most Famous NBA Referee: A Ranking of Notable Officiating Icons

Choose the referee you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 2, 2023 23:50)
Step into the world of whistle-blowers and court controllers with our latest StrawPoll ranking - "Who is the most famous NBA referee?" As a vital part of the game, these unsung heroes uphold the integrity and spirit of basketball. Now it's your turn to decide who takes the top spot among the most iconic NBA referees. Cast your vote for your favorite, or if you feel we've missed a crucial candidate, suggest an addition to our list. Don't just sit on the sidelines; make your voice heard in the ultimate showdown of basketball's most influential referees. Join thousands of fans in our interactive ranking, and together, let's celebrate the legends who keep the game fair and thrilling for all!

Who Is the Most Famous NBA Referee?

  1. 1
    Joey Crawford
    Keith Allison · CC BY-SA 2.0
    Crawford is often considered one of the most recognizable and controversial referees in NBA history. He officiated over 2,500 games during his career and was known for his animated style and confrontations with players and coaches.
  2. 2
    Bavetta is one of the most respected and longest-serving referees in NBA history, officiating over 2,600 games during his career. He was known for his consistency and professionalism on the court.
  3. 3
    Tim Donaghy
    Tim Donaghy · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Although Donaghy's career as an NBA referee was cut short due to a betting scandal, he remains a well-known figure in the league.
  4. 4
    McCutchen is a former NBA referee who is now the league's Vice President of Referee Development and Training.
  5. 5
    Javie is another well-known referee who worked over 2,000 games during his career. He was known for his no-nonsense approach and consistent calls.
  6. 6
    Palmer is the first female referee in NBA history and officiated over 900 games during her career.
  7. 7
    Although Hochuli is primarily known for his work as an NFL referee, he also worked as an NBA official early in his career.
    Ed Hochuli in other rankings
  8. 8
    Callahan has officiated over 1,500 games during his career and is known for his calm demeanor on the court.
  9. 9
    Mauer has worked over 1,700 games during his career and is known for his consistent and fair calls.
  10. 10
    Foster has worked over 1,400 games during his career and is known for his no-nonsense approach on the court.

Missing your favorite referee?


Ranking factors for famous referee

  1. Longevity in the league
    Referees who have had long and successful careers in the NBA are more likely to be well-known and respected by players, coaches, and fans.
  2. Consistency and accuracy in officiating
    Referees who consistently make correct calls and maintain a high level of fairness and professionalism are more likely to gain recognition and fame.
  3. Officiating high-profile games
    Referees who are chosen to officiate important and high-stakes games, such as playoff games or NBA Finals, are often more well-known and recognized by basketball fans.
  4. Reputation among players and coaches
    Referees who have a positive reputation among players and coaches, such as being fair, approachable, and knowledgeable, may become more famous within the NBA community.
  5. Impact on the game
    Referees who have made significant calls or decisions that have had a major impact on a game or a specific moment in basketball history may also gain notoriety and become more famous.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous NBA referee. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or referee is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 198 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each referee once every 24 hours. The rank of each referee is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most famous nba referee

Basketball referees are an integral part of any game. They ensure that the game is played fairly and within the rules. In the NBA, referees are highly respected for their ability to make split-second decisions and maintain order on the court. Over the years, many referees have become household names, thanks to their exceptional skills and memorable moments. From Joey Crawford to Tim Donaghy, the NBA has seen its fair share of famous referees. But who is the most famous of them all? Join us as we explore the world of NBA referees and try to answer that age-old question.

Share this article