Is NBA Ref Bill Kennedy Going Viral for a Hilarious Review? What We Know So Far



by NOUMAN RASOOL

Is NBA Ref Bill Kennedy Going Viral for a Hilarious Review? What We Know So Far
© Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In the world of professional basketball, NBA referee Bill Kennedy has taken the spotlight not for controversial calls but for his theatrical flair during instant replay reviews. Known for a voice that seems tailored for audiobook narration or a voiceover in commercials, Kennedy's unique style has recently catapulted him into viral fame on Twitter.

His energetic announcements over the loudspeaker and his camera presence have made him an unexpected internet sensation.

Kennedy's journey in the NBA is marked by experience and distinction.

He has become one of its most long-standing officials since embarking on his career in the league during the 1995–96 season. An alumnus of Arizona State University, Kennedy honed his skills in officiating in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), a former minor league basketball organization in the Eastern US, which ceased operations in 2009.

His expertise and dedication to the sport have led him to officiate five NBA Finals games, a prestigious achievement given that referees are selected based on their performance throughout the season. Kennedy's experience isn't confined to the NBA alone; his officiating prowess has been showcased internationally.

He was a referee at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey in 2010 and participated in the London Summer Olympics in 2012. Adding to his diverse portfolio, Kennedy is openly gay and takes pride in his professional and personal identity.

"I am proud to be an NBA referee, and I am proud to be a gay man," Kennedy stated in an interview with Yahoo Sports.

Kennedy's Contentious Encounters

Bill Kennedy's career has seen its share of notable incidents.

One such event occurred on March 17, 2009, when he ejected then-Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers faced a $25,000 fine for postgame remarks critical of Kennedy, who also received reprimands from the league for his handling of the situation.

This was not the duo's only contentious encounter; during the 2009 NBA Playoffs, Rivers allegedly directed a gay slur at Kennedy. Kennedy also experienced verbal abuse in a 2015 game when he ejected Rajon Rondo, who allegedly used a gay slur towards him.

Rondo faced a one-game suspension following this incident. Through these challenges and his unique approach to officiating, Kennedy remains a distinct and respected figure in the NBA, his recent viral fame highlighting the less noticed yet pivotal role of referees in the world of sports.