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NBA planning to use a centralized replay center as soon as next season

Feb 14, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT

NBA referees instant replay Getty Images

The NBA has continually expanded the instances in which referees can use instant replay to make sure they get the call right, but it’s still a process that can slow the flow of the game and grind its fast-paced action to a halt while officials are coming to a decision.

In another leap forward that would shorten the amount of time it takes those onsite to review multiple angles of a questionable play, the league is moving toward implementing one centralized center where officials at another location could have the correct call made by the time the referees in the arena make it to the scorer’s table.

From Brian Windhorst of

“What we’re in the process of doing is we’re going to create a central location where we’ll have people there who will be watching every game,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said Friday. “When the referees go over to the side, in many instances the [central replay center] will already know what happened and they’ll be able to tell the referee, which will hopefully take less time.”

The project is one of new commissioner Adam Silver’s initiatives. The NBA would be mimicking a system the NHL started in 2011, when it created what is known as the “situation room” in Toronto where all goals from all games can be reviewed with calls communicated to the officials on the ice. …

“It’s still a work in progress for exactly how it’s [going to work],” Thorn said. “On the line calls, like whether it’s a 3-pointer or 2-pointer, or in many occasions they’ll be able to tell the referee the ball was definitely [out of bounds], whatever team. That should help.”

This would make a lot of sense. There are plenty of times seeing replays at home where the correct call that needs to be made is inarguable from a certain angle, but officials in the building may want to be overly-cautious and review it multiple times.

Now that there would potentially be referees on duty elsewhere, it could ultimately give the entire process a much-needed head start.

  1. paleihe - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    That’s great. Don’t know what’s taken them so long to do this since allowing replay.

    It drastically slows down the game, and hopefully this’ll speed it up.

  2. hildezero - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Of course the new young guy in charge would have a brilliant new techie idea.

  3. Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    Call the NHL for pointers. They’ve been doing this for awhile.

  4. rushbacker - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Hopefully the NFL is paying attention. . .

  5. therealgrande - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    I like it. Basically gives coaches time outs they don’t deserve. Speed up the process to keep everyone happy.

  6. johngalt1783 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    The NBA should do away with humans making calls. With Sports Vu in almost every arena and it could be added where it is not, let the computer make the calls. Far more accurate and consistent.

    On top of that when they play the replay on the big scoreboard in the arena’s there would be the officail league explanation of the call.

    For sure it would take a while to debug but technolocially it is possible and would elminate all the bad calls that happen despite human review.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Who’s gonna give out the Ts and break up the fights?

      • rushbacker - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:48 PM


      • 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        Which one, 90’s Robocop or the new jack Robocop?

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