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Violet Palmer: Moving Past Fear

4y ago


Palmer describes her first NBA game as a ref - her extreme nervousness and how she got past it. Violet Palmer broke a major glass ceiling in sports in 1997 when she became the first woman to officiate in the NBA, as well as the first female official in any major U.S. professional sport. While her entrance into the league drew the rancor of several players and coaches, her performance and professionalism quickly won over even her most vitriolic opponents. Fifteen years later, she's a respected league veteran with a growing number of playoff games under her belt. Palmer spent nine seasons as one of the top women's collegiate basketball officials. She officiated five NCAA Women's Final Fours and two Women's National Championship games during her tenure. She was recruited to the NBA's referee training program in 1995 and began officiating NBA pre-season and exhibition games before getting her first shot the regular season in 1997. In 2006, she became the first woman to officiate an NBA playoff game, an assignment reserved for the top-performing referees, and in 2009, she officiated in the NBA finals.