Referees make a lot of calls during the course of a basketball game but some of the best calls they make are “No Calls”. Every time the referee blows the whistle, half of the arena disagrees because it’s against the team the fans are rooting for. Seconds later the jeers are cheers when the referee makes the same call against the other team. That’s the nature of officiating.
But don’t get that confused with the job of the sports commentator. A commentator has to find the best and/or most interesting angle of every play. The appropriate comment may be agreement with the call but commentators that don’t stir the pot don’t last long. The fans think they have been injured, are vocal and want someone on their side. They want someone to pick up their banner even thought they won’t win, the call won’t be reversed, they want someone to care. Hence, the commentator steps in and champions their woes. “That was a foul”. “He should be on the line”. “They should get the ball back”. But the official had a better angle, was closer to the play and better knowledge of the game. He got it right, That was a good “No Call” even though he is publicly lambasted and criticized about angles he never had.
That happened recently in an NBA playoff game. You know what I am talking about. Someone told me the in-bounder was entitled to three feet. Grow up. This is a professional basketball game. Someone said the in-bounder stepped over the line. Really, you saw that? People said the in-bounder pushed. As the in-bounder, he did he break the plane. Both hands, remained on the ball. He didn’t push with his hands. Did he push with the ball? Did he push with or use an elbow. Hmm. Looked like he swung his upper body and the defender fell back from the possible contact from the initial replay I saw. That wasn’t the replay they showed over and over again though as the commentator complained the referee “missed” the call. The referee was where he was supposed to be. In this case, on the other side of the alleged push. From that angle, could he have seen a push? Seems like with seconds on the clock and the game on the line, even though the fans screened for all sorts of things, it was a good “No Call”.
Happens all the time. As a fan, you want the call you want and anyone that sympathizes with you becomes you friend albeit for the moment. So commentators suddenly become champions of righteous fans. The referee “missed the call”. Sometimes they do, but not nearly as often as fans and TV commentators would like you believe.