Michael Carter-Williams uses poster in locker to help him learn refs’ names
Michael Carter-Williams is one of the very few reasons Philadelphia 76ers fans can be optimistic about the future. The former Syracuse star has averaged 16.6 points, 6.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game in his rookie season. He seems to be working hard to improve all phases of his game, including his relationship with the league’s officiating crews.
As Brett Pollakoff of Pro Basketball Talk noted, Carter-Williams has a large poster hanging inside his locker that features all of the NBA’s referees. Their names are listed below their head shots.
“My coaches put that up so I’ll learn the names of the refs and build a relationship with them,” he explained. “So that’s why that’s up there.”
It certainly hasn’t helped the Sixers win games, although they did beat the Detroit Pistons on Sunday to snap a league-record 26-game losing streak. Still, it couldn’t hurt to earn the respect of officials by taking the time to remember their names. Carter-Williams also has a piece of paper hanging inside his locker so he can write down the names of each ref before a game and give it to his coaches — a quiz, in other words.
“I’m a rookie, they felt as a point guard I should have that bond with the refs,” Carter-Williams said. “You see guys like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook who have relationships with the refs, and you know, they’re veterans now. They probably know every ref by their first name.”
It’s not a bad idea, and I’m sure plenty of players have made the same type of effort to build a personal relationship with refs. We all know how biased the officiating can be in the NBA. Any little advantage matters.