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If you could put any questions to an NBA official

What would you ask them?

  • Vvord wanted to know: "Are you blind?"

  • Coffenaut asked: "I noticed that the officials are running around almost as much as the players without breaks, but officials are a little on the 'hefty' side. Are you secretly ripped under the uniform, or do you tend to eat more cheeseburgers than usual?

  • FlamingLips asked: "Do you think, over the years, complaining about calls has increased, decreased or stayed the same? What is your opinion on the huge increase of flopping (like soccer) and what are you doing to try and counter it?"

There were many others like it on the website Reddit.com yesterday.

Another question is: Were Vvord, FlamingLips and the gang actually talking to an NBA referee?

Maybe.

There is a series of conversations on the website Reddit called "IAmAn" in which people with different professions take questions about their work. Yesterday, somebody calling himself ForteNBA took many questions-- he said at the prodding of his son -- under the heading "IAmAn NBA official."

You can read the whole thing here. (Some PG-13 language, mostly from readers.)

I just read it all.

All kinds of people on the chat doubted that it was really an NBA official, and that skepticism is healthy. But for what it's worth, the chat is fairly long and involved, and nothing in it strikes me as blatantly fake. And a lot of the answers are pretty boring, which is in keeping with reality, but not so in keeping with goofing around online posing as a referee.

Whoever it was trots out much of the biography of NBA referee Joe Forte, including talk of his NCAA reffing experience, his alma mater (shout out to High Point University!) etc.

In one exchange, Reddit readers were suspicious of his claim the NBA had measured and found that he got about 95% of his calls correct. But indeed the NBA does measure such things in the manner he described (it's explained many places, including in the Pedowitz Report), and 95% is right around the percentage I have heard is typical of an NBA referee.

Similarly, as the NBA confirmed today, referees do have, as ForteNBA claims, passes to get into every NBA stadium, which seems to amaze some readers.

And how did he handle the hecklers? Like someone who has talked to a lot of them.

The first question out of the gate was about what it was like to read Reddit in braille. (Ha ha, get it?)

ForteNBA's response: "I'm not smart enough to read Braille any true heckler would know that."

Then consider this exchange, about traveling:

ForteNBA: The NBA is the best of the best and they have a better handle on controlling the ball and making sure they don't walk.

dkinmn: BS. B. S. This response alone makes me think this is phony as hell.

ForteNBA: I have been a college official for 12 years and an NBA official for 22 I can tell you outright that NBA talent is a step above that of college. There is a reason only a select few move up to the NBA.

dkinmn: Yes, and my eyes tell me that traveling happens all the time in the pro game, and it isn't called.

ForteNBA: You should totally be a NBA official it is so easy anybody can do it. ... I get that but there is a reason I am payed to get these calls right. I also officiated NCAA ball and I can tell you there are more traveling calls at the college level. So while you may 'see' doesn't mean they actually happen.

Other topics include the difficult block/charge call, an incident when Forte tossed a fan from a game, Stan Van Gundy, Brandon Roy and superstar calls. Forte more or less avoids the many Tim Donaghy questions, although he does repeatedly answer questions along those lines by saying "Google Tim Donaghy."

So, was it really him?

The NBA is checking ... I'll let you know.

UPDATE: After some research, the NBA says this was not, in fact, Joe Forte talking on Reddit.

I have been a college official for 12 years and an NBA official for 22 I can tell you outright that NBA talent is a step above that of college. There is a reason only a select few move up to the NBA.

I have been a college official for 12 years and an NBA official for 22 I can tell you outright that NBA talent is a step above that of college. There is a reason only a select few move up to the NBA.