Basketball is one of the most easily accessible sports for newbies to officiate. Basketball is a popular sport, which means most people have a basic understanding of the rules: out of bounds, five seconds to inbound the ball, two free throws when fouled on a shot, etc. (But watching, or even playing, do not mean you know how to officiate it!)
And unlike some sports such as baseball or lacrosse, it doesn’t require you to buy much gear before you get started. I get most of my apparel at GeaRef, a local provider and great friend of the Silbo community. You can also look for gear from the good folks at Ump Attire or even Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Here’s what I wear when I officiate basketball:
Different organizations ask you to wear different shirts. You can never go wrong with the ol’ standby — the black-and-white shirt, no collar — but it’s wise to have gray-and-black just in case.
A Fox40 Classic CMG whistle — $7.50
Ron Foxcroft, the creator of the Fox40 whistle, is a legend. He’s easily one of the most captivating individuals I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. He also makes the best whistles. I recommend the CMG (cushioned mouth guard) because I tend to chew the whistle while it’s in my mouth. You may not have the same issue. I also carry 2 whistles in my bag at all times. I have black whistles, but if you want to strut your stuff and choose a pink or lime green whistle, then go for it! Silbo encourages refs to express themselves wherever possible. And don’t forget the lanyard attachment, either!
PS: If you work 25 games for Silbo, you might just receive a Silbo-colored Fox40 whistle as a thank-you!
I’ve never worn shorts in a game, but I know plenty of officials that do. The rule of thumb seems to be wearing slacks in high school and middle school games, and shorts in tournaments or rec leagues. I also wear the flat front because I’m not a fan of pleats. You do you.
Black high socks ($10)
Some people might just get regular black socks; I personally tend to wear black compression socks. It doesn’t really matter as long as your skin isn’t showing between your pants and shoes. Pick your poison. It sounds like a nit-picky issue, but it’s an easy thing for coaches to pick up on. If you don’t look the part, they may assume you can’t act the part.
Black sneakers (?)
All-black shoes seem to be the only consistent rule that every basketball official follows. Whether they’re expensive or cheap, brand-name or off-brand, everyone seems to have all black sneakers. (You can get away with a white swoosh if you’re the type of person to push boundaries.) I personally wear New Balance high-tops, but I have no idea where I found them.
Hopefully that’ll give you a good idea of what to wear the next time you take the court. If you need any advice, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to help you out.
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