Place of Residence: A National Basketball Association arena near you or Los Angeles.
Why She’s a Game Changer: Palmer is currently the only female referee in the NBA.
Sometimes longevity under difficult circumstances deserves praise. Palmer became one of two women to infiltrate the all-male referee ranks of the NBA in 1997. Her fellow groundbreaking female referee left after five years, leaving Palmer to hold it down on her own for the last several years.
“I didn’t just kick the door — I knocked it down,” Palmer told espnW.
Palmer’s skill has also earned her the distinction of being the first woman to serve as a referee during the playoffs of any major American sport.
The climb upward hasn’t been easy.
Palmer spent nine years refereeing high school and women’s college games, including two NCAA Final Fours and the championships. The NBA took notice and recruited Palmer.
“The NBA was never my goal, because I thought it was unattainable. I was a college referee. I was the No. 3 referee in the world for women’s basketball. I had everything. The Final Four. Big TV games — all the limelight I wanted. But my personality is if you give me a challenge, I’m going to take it. In the back of my mind, I said, It doesn’t cost me anything. I can just try it. If nothing happens, the training will be good.”
But things were difficult at first.
“Generally it was a good ‘ole boys club, and I think that’s within any sport. There were a lot of referees that resented me joining the ranks,” Palmer told PBS.
But looking back at her life, it wasn’t hard to predict that Palmer would be a trailblazer. If she wasn’t challenging her brother in basketball, she was busy being the only girl on her Little League team.
At first, players didn’t know how to deal with her, said Palmer, and the fans and the critics were worse.
“‘You’re not going to make it.’ ‘Why are you here? Go back to WNBA.’ ‘Players and coaches are not going to accept you.’ ‘Your guys that you work with, they’re not going to accept you,’” Palmer said about her critics.
And the rookies sometimes didn’t know how to act, Palmer told CNN.
“Every now and then, I might have a little young fella come out, and I say, Oh wait, young fella, I’ve got a lot more years of service than you. Check yourself,’ ” said Palmer.
But then the players began to see that she was just like any of the other referees. Some of the players first looked at her as a Mother figure and then just began to realize she was a cool person.
“I think a woman should be able to do any job that she qualifies for,” Palmer told Scholastic. “If she can go out and be the best at it like any man, why shouldn’t she have the opportunity to do whatever sport or career [she wants]?”
Now Palmer’s boldness has left that door she kicked open ajar for other women.
“Two more women have already been working two or three NBA games a month this season for on-the-job training that will go through January,” Palmer said. “And I’m not sure anyone even noticed much, which is great.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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