NBA Referee Salary 2023: who is the highest paid?

Discover the top 10 highest-paid NBA referees in the 2022-2023 season, learn about the NBA Referee Salary and how much do they make

NBA Referee

The NBA is undoubtedly one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. It’s a league that is home to some of the most talented athletes in the world, and with that talent comes intense competition. But, behind every great game is a team of referees who ensure that the game is played fairly and within the rules.

Even among NBA Referees, there are those who are considered better than others (read also: The Best NBA Referee of all time). These are the Refs who earn more according to their experience and match management skills.

How Much does a NBA Referee Make?

NBA referees are some of the highest-paid officials in professional sports, with a salary that range from $150,000 to $550,000 per year.

However, this figure can vary depending on the referee’s level of experience and the number of games they officiate during the season, as they earn a fee for each game they officiate. Additionally, referees receive a range of benefits, including healthcare, retirement plans, and travel expenses.

Starting NBA referees, referred to as “rookies,” typically earn an annual salary of approximately $250,000. As they gain experience over the course of three to five years, their salary can increase up to $500,000.

In terms of per-game earnings, NBA referees earn an average salary of between $3,000 and $6,100 per game during the regular season. However, this amount does not include the additional earnings they can make during the postseason, which can range from $800 to $5,000 per game depending on their rank.

Who is the highest-paid NBA referee?

The highest paid NBA Referee in 2023 is James Capers who is estimated to earn $550,000 annually, with $9,000 in fees per playoff game.

James Capers’ NBA career spans over 1,500 games in 28 seasons, starting from his early days of refereeing high school basketball. Before joining the NBA with Xerox, he was a salesman. Capers’ father, James Capers Sr., was also an NBA official, which played a role in his decision to pursue a career in refereeing.

Throughout his time in the NBA, Capers has officiated 178 playoff games, including 14 Finals, and was selected to referee the NBA All-Star Game in 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Despite these numbers and evidence, he does not currently rank in the top 10 best referees in NBA history.

Top 10 Highest Paid NBA Referees in 2022-23

OfficialsMatch FeesPlay-Off Match FeesSemifinal and Final Match FeesYearly Earnings
James Capers7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Sean Corbin7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Tony Brothers7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Rodney Mott7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Scott Foster7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Ken Mauer7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Pat Fraher7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Tom Washington7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Marc Davis7.000 $9.000 $29.000 $550.000 $
Eric Lewis7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Michael Smith7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Leon Wood7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Tony Brown7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Leon Wood7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
David Guthrie7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
John Goble7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Leroy Richardson7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Scott Wall7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Sean Wright7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Mar.000 Ayotte7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $
Derek Richardson7.000 $9.000 $25.000 $500.000 $

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