NEW YORK — Joe Borgia, a former NBA official and current senior vice president, referee operations, announced his retirement today following a celebrated 32-year NBA career.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to officiate at the top of our profession and then transition to a role committed to the advancement and improvement of our officials,” said Borgia. “I am especially proud of the NBA Replay Center. Its continued evolution in improving our game is an example of the dedication the NBA’s Referee Operations department has to excellence and innovation.”
Borgia was instrumental in the design and development of the NBA Replay Center, which opened with the 2014-15 season. The state-of-the-art facility, based in Secaucus, N.J., has been a groundbreaking tool to enhance the performance of NBA referees and to accelerate the replay review process.
For five seasons from 2014-19, Borgia was the main point of contact for the NBA Replay Center. This season, he refocused his efforts on the newly created Coach’s Challenge. As he did with the Replay Center, Borgia developed the rules and handled the execution for the Coach’s Challenge, which was approved by the NBA Board of Governors for use during the 2019-20 season.
“Joe’s imprint on the NBA and contributions to a multitude of officiating platforms will be lasting,” said Byron Spruell, President, League Operations. “We thank him for his leadership, passion and committed service to the game, and wish him the best in his retirement.”
Borgia was hired to the NBA referee staff in 1988. He officiated 10 seasons before an injury forced him to retire in 1998. He joined the basketball and referee operations department in 1999.
He served as the NBA’s rules interpreter for more than 15 years, creating training videos and interpreting the rules of the game for officials, teams, broadcasters and media. Borgia made many in-game and postgame appearances on network television to give broadcasters and viewers clarity on rules interpretation and officiating calls. He was also instrumental in converting the NBA’s recruitment and development of officials from the Continental Basketball Association to the NBA’s D-League (currently the G League).
On the court, Borgia worked two of the most famous games in NBA history: the highest-scoring game (Detroit Pistons at Denver Nuggets, 186-184 on Dec. 13, 1983) and the longest modern-day game (Seattle SuperSonics at Milwaukee Bucks, which lasted five overtimes, on Nov. 9, 1989).
Borgia is the son of the late Sid Borgia, a legendary referee who officiated in the NBA for 20 years beginning in 1946. Sid Borgia also served as supervisor of officials during the latter years of his career.