Next time you watch an NBA game, be wary of not only who is officiating the game, but how tall the official is.
A study conducted by the Journal of Sports Economics concluded that shorter NBA referees call more fouls. The existence of height bias among NBA officials shows that the Napoleon Complex is alive and well in basketball.
The Napoleon Complex, which is also known as “short man syndrome”, is the psychological phenomenon when short people become insecure of their stature and exhibit overly domineering characteristics and try to take over situations.
The study demonstrated that referees who were taller than 6-foot-3 called 4.03 fouls per 48 minutes while officials shorter than six feet called 4.13 fouls per 48 minutes. This difference may seem negligible at first glance, but over a span of ten games that’s almost one more foul per ten games.
While the Journal itself acknowledges that’s not enough to swing a decision in an individual game, it is enough to effect the betting market.
Perhaps professional basketball bettor Haralabos Voulgaris will now add another variable in his gambling algorithm.