CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite the ongoing NBA lockout that has wiped out the first month of the season, you can find hoop dreams being kept alive at the Next Level Pro-Am League at the JLM Center on West Jackson Street.
Besides a few sightings, like former DePaul star Bobby Simmons, the best NBA talent you’ll find here are Chicago-based referees Danny Crawford, James Capers, and Marc Davis.
“Normally, we’re in a bigger venue with a bigger crowd … but this is the best we have now and this works just perfect for us,” said Capers.
These three veteran officials are looking to ref basketball games anywhere they can find them to keep their skills sharp.
“I’ve been refereeing Biddy Basketball, 7-year-olds, I’ve been coaching 9-year-olds, anything,” said Davis. “I will say it’s time to go back to work!”
“What we’re doing is we’re working on is training our eyes to slow it down,” Crawford added. “Then we can do our job pretty well.”
After an extended time out, the refs are confident they won’t be hit with a technical foul once they get the call from the league.
“I think the best way to put it without being arrogant is, we’re the best in the world at what we do,” Capers confidently stated. “No matter when we go back, we’ll be ready”.
They hope to be working the court soon at the nearby United Center once the labor issues are resolved. NBA referees are getting paid during the lockout after agreeing to their own five-year collective bargaining agreement over the summer.