Violet Palmer has achieved much in her basketball career, but is best known for being the only female to reach the highest competitive tier as a referee in a major USA professional sport, the National Basketball Association (NBA). Violet was the first female referee to officiate an NBA game. Success did not come easy for Violet. Early in her career, she worked tenaciously to topple gender barriers in professional sports and earned the respect of her peers. In 15 years as an NBA official, Violet has officiated 757 regular season games and 8 playoff games. Before joining the NBA, Palmer officiated in the WNBA during the league’s inaugural season, including the 1997 WNBA Championship. In 1999, Violet won the Naismith Award for official of the year.

Violet Palmer is the Coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officials for the Pacific 12 Conference and the West Coast Conference. The West Coast Conference (WCC) is an NCAA collegiate athletics conference consisting of nine member schools across the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Additionally, she has 3 years of CBA officiating experience and 8 years of collegiate officiating women’s games in the Pac-12, Western Athletic, West Coast, Big Sky, and Big West Conferences, as well as five NCAA Final Fours and two NCAA Championship games. Palmer also has nine years of high school officiating experience in California and seven years of USA basketball officiating experience.

Before becoming an official, Palmer was a successful basketball player both at the collegiate and high school levels. She was a four-year letter winner at California Polytechnic University at Pomona, where her team won the NCAA Division II Finals in 1985 and 1986. In addition, she was played for the varsity girls’ basketball team at Compton High School for all 3 years and was captain for the last 2 years. She was named “Team Most Valuable Player”of the Moore League her senior year and named “All League” her junior and senior years at CHS.

Violet devotes much of her non-officiating time with the City of Los Angeles Youth Referee Clinic in her hometown of Los Angeles. She is a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Sports Officials and currently sits on the NCAA Mechanics Committee. She currently operates the Basics Referee School which offers basketball officials instruction using the 3-person California Collegiate Association(CCA) Women’s Basketball concept, as well as officiating mechanics, daily classroom sessions on topics such as game management, partnering, and on-court communication.

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