Adam Silver Wants 'Roughly' Half of NBA's New Referee Hires to Be Women

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2019

Referee Lauren Holtkamp gives a thumbs up during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Washington Wizards and the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver envisions a future where half of the new referees the league hires are women.

"It's an area, frankly, where I've acknowledged that I'm not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long," he said during a Thursday appearance for The Economic Club of Washington D.C., per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "Because it's an area of the game where physically, certainly, there's no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing."

He noted there are only three women officials in the league, although two of them were among the last five refs added from the G League.

"The goal is: Going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league," he said. "Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There's no reason why women shouldn't be coaching men's basketball."

There has never been a female head coach in NBA history, but Becky Hammon is an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Mystics player Kristi Toliver worked as an assistant for the Washington Wizards, and Kelly Krauskopf is the assistant general manager of the Indiana Pacers.

As for the officials, Ashley Moyer-Gleich and Natalie Sago were promoted from the G League to full-time NBA refs in November.

They joined Lauren Holtkamp as the only women who are currently referees in the NBA, although Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner also officiated in the league.

Silver’s comments suggest there will be more to join them in the coming years.

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