Weatherford Democrat

Local News

August 1, 2011

Brock man talks about life as an NBA ref

BROCK — Wake up, breakfast, morning meeting, lunch with the crew, website tutorial, nap, prepare for game, referee the game, shower and decompress, get something to eat, review tape and fill out game report, pack for the next day, wake up and fly out to the next city.

This is all just a day’s work for Brock’s Jason Phillips during a regular National Basketball Association season.

A Cisco native, Phillips just finished his 11th season as a referee in the NBA.

While he may get more time off than most during the offseason, Phillips is busier than ever when the preseason starts in October. From there, the regular season takes over, which ends in April.

“Normally, in a regular season, I’ll work between 12 and 15 games a month,” he said. “That translates to anywhere from 22 to 28 days a month on the road. That’s a lot of time away from home during the season.”

An athlete in basketball and baseball throughout school, Phillips first began calling games right out of high school. He also umpired baseball, but stopped to focus on basketball when he realized “basketball has a time limit and the atmosphere is usually 72 degrees and sunny.”

“A guy that lived in Cisco, who had refereed some of my games, came and asked me if I was interesting in doing something to earn a little extra money while in college and stay around the game,” he said.

Phillips began refereeing at the pee wee level, moving on to junior high, then junior varsity and varsity basketball at the high schools.

“I moved up through the high school ranks quickly, and started working summer camps before I went to one run by three NBA referees in 1993,” Phillips said. “During my second one in July of ‘94, I was seen by a supervisor of officials for the NBA and he basically scouted me like I was a player.”

A few months later, he received a letter on an NBA letterhead, asking him if he was interested in joining the training program.

Phillips spent the next six years working Continental Basketball Association games, as well as three summers with the Women’s National Basketball Association, before making his debut with the NBA.

“It’s an honor to be associated with any professional sport because there is such a limited number of opportunities for that,” Phillips said of the field of 60 referees in the NBA. “I have had the opportunity to do some things I would not otherwise have gotten to do growing up in Cisco.

“And to be on the same floor as the Dirk Nowitzkis, the Kobe Bryants, the LeBron Jameses ... to be a part of that is neat in itself, and it provides a good living for my family.”

While the career has its bonuses, separation from family is one of the struggles that Phillips says comes with his job, with a wife, Lewana, and three boys, Seth, Shay and Kooper.

“I have three boys who are very active in different things and it’s hard to be away because you never get that time back,” he said. “Seth was 4 when I started refereeing in the CBA, and it took him time getting used to me being gone so much. Shay knew it a little better and Kooper, this is all he knows basically.

“It’s stressful when I’m gone because my wife becomes a single parent [of three boys]. If it wasn’t for her, this wouldn’t be possible. She’s a strong, independent lady who does a great job of keeping the household together when I’m gone.”

When off the court, he makes sure to spend as much time with family as he can.

“During the regular season, I try to put basketball away [at home] because that time [with my family] is so few and far between.”

During the playoffs, Phillips spends time preparing for his next assignment by watching the teams in previous games.

“If I know I have a series coming up, I’ll watch the games leading up to it to get a feel,” he said.

During the last playoff season, Phillips was on an official crew during the Dallas Mavericks-Oklahoma City Thunder series as well as a Dallas-Los Angeles Lakers game.

Before the season even starts, officials must go through a full-blown physical, complete with X-rays, checks for vision and hearing, and a heart-rate monitoring exam.

“My last season went longer because I worked the playoffs, so I haven’t really done a lot as far as running, just so I could let me body recuperate for a few months,” Phillips said. “It’s about time to go back to work, and I’ll usually jog 3 to 5 miles for two or three days a week.

“Once the season starts, it’s about maintaining, do cardio on my off days, and some light cardio as a warm-up before games.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • WC Granbury to offer courses for future teachers

    The Weatherford College Education Center at Granbury will offer courses required for the Associate of Arts in Teaching degree (AAT) in fall 2014.

    August 1, 2014

  • WC celebrates workforce excellence

    Weatherford College, in partnership with PECOFacet and Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas, has received the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) Workforce Excellence Award.

    August 1, 2014

  • 0801 loc historic home of month.jpg Historic Home of the Month named

    The Parker County Heritage Society’s Historic Home of the Month is the Norton-Black-Lott Home, located at 406 West Columbia Street. Living in the house her great grandfather built, Martha and Richard Lott are the caretakers of this Weatherford historic home. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • AgriLife to offer landscape class

    The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service of Parker County, in cooperation with the Parker County Master Gardeners, will conduct a workshop entitled Creating and Maintaining a Healthy, Drought-Tolerant and Sustainable Landscape.

    July 31, 2014

  • 0729 loc burch school.jpg Rainforest Camp at Burch School of Music

    In June, there were seven students who explored the flora and fauna of the rainforest through music at The Burch School of Music. Each child made his or her own rain stick, along with other crafts and art work. For two hours each day for five days, students explored a different level of the rainforest, starting with the emergent layer at the top, moving through the canopy, the understory, the forest floor and the rivers. They let bats fly (black balloons) and were eaten by a boa constrictor. On the last day they dressed as natives and drummed together.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Republican Women to meet Aug. 14 at Doss

    The Parker County Republican Women’s monthly meeting will be Aug. 14 at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center in Weatherford. The meeting is open to the public. 

    July 31, 2014

  • 0727 loc peaster ffa.jpg Peaster FFA students attend state convention

    The 86th Texas FFA Convention was recently held in Fort Worth. Peaster’s Hannah Ford completed her year of service as a state officer. 

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Parker County Heritage Society to meet Aug. 19

    Parker County Heritage Society will meet Aug. 19 in the home of Nathan and Abby Hamessely at 410 W. Spring St. at 7 p.m. 

    July 27, 2014

  • AgriLife to offer parenting classes Aug. 19, 21

    The Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Parker County will offer parenting classes on Aug. 19 and 21, 2014, at the Parker County Agricultural Services Center. The classes will be from 1-5 p.m. each day and will include lunch. The cost to attend the class is $10 per person for the two-day class. Scholarships are available.

    July 27, 2014

  • CASA receives national certification for its efforts

    WEATHERFORD – CASA Hope for Children of Parker and Palo Pinto County has just been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. This certification recognizes that CASA Hope for Children is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy.

    July 26, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction