“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.

At StoryCorps, father and son talked about Marat’s own journey to the NBA.

Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by Michael Garofalo
Facilitated by Elena Cohen
Read the Transcript
Click here for the transcript.