“When you told me someday you’re gonna be an NBA referee, I said, ‘Yeah, of course’.”
Growing up, Marat Kogut dreamed of sharing the floor with professional basketball’s biggest stars, but not as a player. Marat wanted to be an NBA referee, a career goal he achieved in 2009 with more than a little support from his father, Leon.
Leon Kogut knows something about chasing dreams — in 1979 he immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine with his wife and three kids. Marat was just a newborn then, and the family landed in a homeless shelter before Leon found work as a barber. Today, Leon owns his own barbershop in Brooklyn.