Two black women have made history this week as the first female duo to referee an NBA game together. It was a veteran ESPN writer who first pointed the event out as being groundbreaking in basketball history.
Marc J. Spears, ESPN’s The Defeated senior writer, tweeted on Tuesday, reporting that Angelica Suffren and Danielle Scott were the first two black women to referee an NBA game during Tuesday evening’s match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. And, according to NBA spokesman Mike Bass, it was also the first time two women officiated a game.
First time I’ve ever seen two black women referee an NBA game of any kind. Violet Palmer would be proud Danielle Scott and Angelica Suffren reffing at the California Classic Summer League Lakers versus Heat. @TheUndefeated pic.twitter.com/0gyXL4DW7J— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 4, 2018
The first time the NBA hired women as referees happened in 1997, they were Violet Palmer, now retired, and Dee Kanter. Palmer made history then for being the first woman to referee an NBA game between the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks, which happened on Oct. 31, 1997. Then on April 25, 2006, she made history again for being the first woman to officiate a playoff game, this time between the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets.
After Spears’ tweet, users celebrated the historic moment. And some even called for the next step: hiring a woman to coach an NBA team.
Two women ref’n the NBA summer league game between the Lakers and Heat ??? @NefWalker— smoove (@shelllyshel) July 4, 2018
Now, it’s time to have a woman coach.— Peter Mancuso (@therealpeterm) July 4, 2018
Both have put in a ton of work and r outstanding professionals! Both r on top of their game!— Richard Isaacs (@Hsquad99) July 4, 2018
Popular question: "Why does it have to be about color?"— Tomas Kassahun ???? (@TomasKassahun) July 4, 2018
Answer: Because there was a time in history where it was unimaginable for black people (especially women) to have these opportunities. Every barrier shattered is a step forward, is a cause for celebration.
Happy 4th https://t.co/xFsHZ6rV5B
It’s incredibly heartwarming to see Scott and Suffren making history, but what is even more encouraging is to know that they paved the way for others and that, in no time, seeing women of color refereeing an NBA game together will be as common as seeing men doing the same.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Pixabay, tookapic