John P. Nucatola

Enshrined 1978
New York, NY
November 17, 1907 - May 8, 2000


Deemed basketball's "greatest official" by Hall of Famer Clair Bee, John Nucatola was a man of high moral fiber and ethics. Nucatola believed the referee's most important duty was to make the right call and not just to assert authority. During his two-decade career, Nucatola officiated over 2,000 games. A highly respected official, he often urged other refs to be willing to reconsider their calls, and was a strong advocate of the three-man officiating crew. Nucatola began his career at the college level where he founded the College Basketball Officials Association. He moved onto the professional game in the American Basketball League, the Basketball Association of American, and the National Basketball League. In a life dedicated to the development of basketball and officiating, Nucatola conducted more than 1,200 clinics worldwide.

Career Highlights

Officiated in eighteen NCAA tournaments
Officiated in eighteen National Invitation Tournaments
Original referee in the BAA and NBA, 1946-1954
Officiated in the Olympics, 1952,1956