“Violet Palmer is a real game changer,” says Ralph. “As a woman, she shattered the glass ceiling in the world of professional sports while living out her truth as a gay woman. By making historic gains in the NBA, Violet scored big wins for gender equality and LGBT rights for the next generation of women coming behind her.”
Palmer is the first female to officiate an NBA game, and became the first openly gay referee in NBA history. After 19 years, serving in that capacity, she retired from the sport, and now serves as a consultant to the basketball league. Early in her career, she worked tenaciously to topple gender barriers in professional sports and earned the respect of her peers. In nearly two decades as an NBA official, Palmer has officiated 930 regular season games and nine playoff games, as well as the 2014 All-Star game in New Orleans. Before joining the NBA, Palmer officiated in the WNBA during the league’s inaugural season, including the 1997 WNBA Championship. Two years later, Palmer won the Naismith Award for Official of the Year. Currently, Palmer is the coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officials for the Pac 12 Conference, the West Coast Conference ( WCC ) and the Western Athletic Conference.
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