Blogging with Jacqui Dover: Whirlwind
The past eighteen months have been nothing short of a whirlwind.
Three cities, many firsts and now one step closer to the big goal – working the NBA floor for a living. I never imagined being in this position back when I turned from playing to officiating in 2015.
I officially moved over to New York at the beginning of February with my wife, slightly delayed from our original January date due to Visa appointment challenges. The plus side of this delay was being able to continue working NBL games right up until I was leaving, which in turn gave me more experience on the floor at the elite level.
My first month was spent right in the middle of Times Square, a few blocks away from from the NBA office in Olympic Tower. New York was still experiencing covid restrictions, so my first official day and the following weeks of work were online. I was able to meet a fellow member of RDP (Referee Development Program) the second week who gave me the grand tour of the empty office, getting a photo with the Larry O’Brien trophy and spent the day studying rules.
I spent the first few weeks exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn, walking km’s a day to Central Park, Tribeca, the Hudson River and across the Brooklyn Bridge – really getting a feel for the city that never sleeps. Side note: Winter snow, negative degree weather and covid restrictions provided the perfect opportunity for an empty Times Square photo. (See attached)
Once we got rolling for working in the office, I was finally able to jump out on court with my first game being the Grand Final of the Bergen Basketball League (BBL) Winter Season. We work this league across the year as part of our training to apply NBA Pro mechanics and rules. This has been really beneficial as there are a lot more rule differences than I expected from FIBA, so I’ve definitely had testing situations where I need to know the rule differences – especially when I give a fake warning to a player and get a very confused response back given this isn’t a NBA rule here. That was a good laugh!
Along with working the BBL, we have the opportunity to sit in the Replay Centre during the NBA season and have access to WNBA/NBA/G-League games and referee sessions with the end goal of being out there working the floor someday in near future.