Mike Bantom named new head of NBA Referee Operations

NEW YORK — Mike Bantom, a 23-year NBA executive and former NBA player, has been named Executive Vice President, Referee Operations, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today.

Bantom will oversee the NBA’s officiating program, including the recruiting, training and development of all NBA officials. He will report to Joel Litvin, NBA President, League Operations, and his new role will begin immediately.

“Mike has been an invaluable part of the NBA for over 20 years and has excelled in leadership positions across both our domestic and international businesses,” said Stern.  “That experience, together with his considerable accomplishments on the court and his respect in the basketball community, make Mike an outstanding choice to lead the NBA’s officiating program.”

Since 1999, Bantom has served as the NBA’s Senior Vice President of Player Development in which he directed the league’s player programs including the Rookie Transition Program, the NBA Continuing Education Program, and the Player Substance Abuse Program.  Under Bantom’s direction, the NBA established the first-ever Team Player Development Program under which each team created a new front office function devoted to working with the team’s players in managing all aspects of their off-court responsibilities.

Prior to heading up the league’s player development programs, Bantom served as Vice President of NBA Events and Attractions from 1997 to 1999, where he was responsible for major NBA interactive events, including NBA All-Star Jam Session. Bantom, who joined the NBA in 1989 as Licensing Manager for NBA International after a 16-year professional playing career in the NBA and in Europe, helped establish the NBA Europe headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked from 1994 to 1997. Integral to helping grow the sport globally, Bantom established the Converse/NBA 3-on-3 World Tour and from 1992 to 1994, managed the NBA Africa Tour and NBA Coaches Clinics Tour to Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America.

Bantom averaged 12.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in his nine-year NBA playing career.  He made the NBA All-Rookie team after Phoenix drafted him with the eighth overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft.  Following his NBA career, Bantom competed seven more seasons in the Italian Professional League before retiring in 1989. The Philadelphia, Pa. native was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team and collected All-American honors during his collegiate career at St. Joseph’s University.