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NBA Referee Makes History With Playoffs Assignment 

Ashley Moyer-Gleich made history as the second Woman to ref an NBA playoff game.

Ashley Moyer-Gleich will become only the second woman in NBA history to referee a playoff game. She was one of chosen 36 referees announced last Thursday as its referee selections for the first round of the playoffs that started during the weekend.

“It’s surreal,” Moyer-Gleich said.

NBA Referee Makes History With Playoffs Assignment

Moyer-Gleich’s Background

Moyer-Gleich joined Violet Palmer as the only woman picked by the NBA for a playoff assignment. Palmer worked nine playoff games between 2006 and 2012. Moyer-Gleich played Division II basketball at Millersville University in her home state of Pennsylvania. She was promoted to a full-time NBA official role in November 2018. She has officiated more than 200 season games in her six seasons. Notably she is one of three first-time playoff selections by the league this year.

“I worked four games as an alternate last year, so obviously, my goal was I wanted to be an alternate again because that’s just sustaining the growth that I’ve had in my career, And then to see my name on list of working floor officials . I mean, my mom was with me, she came with me on my last two games for a little trip, and to open that email and have her there with me and share that news.  It was really quite amazing.” Moyer-Gleich said.

The league trims the officiating roster down for each round, typically culminating with a 12-person list for the NBA Finals. Those referees receive white warm-up jackets for Finals games, something the league has made a tradition for years.

A Brief History

On October 31, 1997, the then 33-year-old Violet Palmer became the first woman to officiate an NBA game. Despite the watershed moment, there elicited little reaction from the crowd when she was announced before the tip-off of the Dallas Mavericks and 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 the former NBA VP‚ 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.”

Palmer had previously officiated WNBA and NBA Summer League games. Before her first NBA regular-season game, she was ready to take the helm of the challenge.

“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.” said Violet at the time.

The Full Officials List

The full list of first-round referees chosen by the NBA: Ray Acosta, Brent Barnaky, Curtis Blair, Tony Brothers, Nick Buchert, James Capers, Sean Corbin, Kevin Cutler, Marc Davis, JB DeRosa, Mitchell Ervin, Tyler Ford, Brian Forte, Scott Foster, Pat Fraher, Jacyn Goble, John Goble, David Guthrie, Bill Kennedy, Courtney Kirkland, Karl Lane, Mark Lindsay, Ed Malloy, Ashley Moyer-Gleich, Gediminas Petraitis, Kevin Scott, Aaron Smith, Ben Taylor, Dedric Taylor, Josh Tiven, Justin Van Duyne, James Williams, Sean Wright, Zach Zarba, Kogut, Orr and Moyer-Gleich.

“Congratulations to these 36 officials on the well-earned and prestigious honor of being selected to officiate in the NBA Playoffs, We appreciate the professionalism, dedication and teamwork that our officiating staff displays on a daily basis throughout the season.” NBA President of League Operations Byron Spruell said.


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