Because of his backstory, Marat Kogut has always been a bit of a celebrity, at least by the standards for an NBA referee. Kogut moved from the Ukraine to New York when he was 2 months old. His family ended up sleeping on a bench along Ocean Parkway after being forced to leave a homeless shelter.
When Kogut was in high school, his sports-officiating class got a visit from legendary NBA ref Dick Bavetta. That meeting inspired him to become an NBA referee.
His mother, Lora, frowned upon this career ambition.
"Mom was totally against it. ... Her main concern was to marry me off," Marat told NPR. He remembers Lora worrying, "'Who's gonna take a guy like that, who's gonna be a referee? What kind of a job is that?'"
Well, in the end, both son and mom got their wish.
Kogut became an NBA referee in 2009 when he was just 30.
Then on Sept. 3, 2012, Kogut married Mariana Leokumovich in Brooklyn.
Their marriage is now being featured as a testimonial billboard in Times Square for JDate.com, a matchmaking service for Jewish singles.
(H/T to Deadspin)