On This Day: Violet Palmer becomes first woman to officiate an NBA game

On October 30, 1997, 33-year-old Violet Palmer becomes the first woman to officiate an NBA game. Despite the watershed moment, there is little reaction from the crowd when she is announced before the tip-off of the Dallas Mavericks-Vancouver Grizzlies game. “This is a dream come true, but it’s come about by a lot of hard work,” says Palmer.

“This is a night we’ll all look back on in 25 years and say, ‘That opened the door,'” said NBA vice president of Rod Thorn, who attended the historic game in Vancouver. “It’s only appropriate that we be here. I don’t know who’s more excited, Violet or me.”

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