The website thescore.com has run a wonderful story on Monty McCutchen’s wild ride from small-town Texas to top NBA referee to his role currently as NBA Vice-President of Referee Development and Training.
Monty is more than grateful for what officiating has done for him. One of the things that helped him make the decision to leave active officiating at the height of his career and take over the VP role was “the idea of serving something that has been so incredibly good to me.” Basketball officiating has transformed him, “and if you can influence that back through young people, that’s obviously very enriching, both personally and professionally.”
McCutchen, beside being perhaps one of the more uniquely-dressed individuals off the court, is as referees and players attest, also the great communicator. Former NBA referee great Joey Crawford, who Monty points out became a mentor and big brother figure to him, remembers a tough playoff game between Memphis and the LA Clippers. Crawford, who was some might say, sometimes volatile, mused, “‘Thank God I’m with Monty.’ He added an ease to the game. … I was adding fuel to the fire, where he was controlling the fire. I knew this guy was getting us through the game, simply by the way he interacted with players and coaches.”
Players also had great respect for Monty’s communications skills. Vince Carter calls him “a fair, honest, and approachable ref…He was more than willing to hear you out and admit when he made a mistake.” And Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan says, “You could communicate with him.”
Those communications skills also carry over well into his position in the NBA where he no doubt has to talk with not only GM’s and coaches, but now in his role supervising referees and a myriad of other responsibilities inside and outside the office.
And McCutchen is very appreciative from where he has come. “Our players and coaches are the best people, in addition to being the best at their professions,” he says.