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How VAR Technology Could Change Basketball Forever

The Pros and Cons of VAR technology in the NBA

If the NBA implemented Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology into the game, it could significantly enhance how it is officiated by increasing fairness and accuracy in decision-making. Many sports, such as soccer and tennis, have already adopted this technology. Here’s how VAR could change the NBA:

Decision Accuracy:

1. Reviewing Game-Deciding Plays:

In basketball, critical moments such as buzzer-beaters, late-game shots, and fouls can significantly impact the outcome of a game. VAR can review these plays with multiple camera angles and slow-motion replays to ensure a call is not faulty. Determining whether a player’s foot was on the line during a three-point attempt can be very controversial. In December, there was a very controversial call about whether Lebron James’s foot was on the line in a late-game three-point shot.

2. Goaltending:

Goaltending is often brutal for referees to call in real time since it highly depends on the angle the referee is looking at the basket. An example of when VAR would have been helpful for goaltending is in 2020 when Damian Lillard drove for a layup to tie the game. It got blocked, but it was clear after it hit the backboard. Using VAR in that situation would have made the game fairer in those final game-tying minutes.

Reducing Human Error

1. Correcting Wrong Calls:

Referees can have difficulty making the correct call simply because basketball is fast-paced. VAR is a backup tool for reviewing and correcting errors easily. For example, the referee may incorrectly call a charge when, in reality, it was a blocking foul. VAR reviews can correct those calls, maintaining the integrity of the game.

2. Consistent Officiating

Using VAR can be a standard for officiating across games. By having a main system where calls are reviewed with a consistent standard, the NBA can ensure that similar incidents are judged similarly, reducing biases and disagreements in officiating.

Game Flow

1. Game Flow

One criticism of VAR is its potential disruption to the game’s flow. In basketball, momentum is crucial. Excessive stops could negatively impact the game. Implementing VAR in a way that minimizes interruptions would be an essential addition to it if it ever gets implemented into the game.


The addition of VAR in the NBA could revolutionize the game’s officiating. It would ensure greater accuracy and fairness in the calls. By addressing critical plays, fouls, and controversial calls, VAR can increase the integrity of the game. However, VAR must be implemented thoughtfully to preserve the game flow and balance it with human judgment. If executed well, VAR can increase the quality of NBA officiating forever.



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