Two Women Among Top Ref Candidates

LAS VEGAS – Two females are “top candidates” to become NBA referees in 2012-13, Joe Borgia, the vice president of referee operations, said Monday.

Lauren Holtkamp and Brenda Pantoja are both WNBA officials who worked the semifinals of the National Basketball Development League playoffs. If chosen for a partial schedule or the entire season, they would join veteran Violet Palmer as the only active female ref in the NBA.

“They’re top candidates,” Borgia said at summer league. “In fairness to the other refs, I can’t go any farther than that.”

A decision on the staff of approximately 60 officials is expected in early September. The number of openings is uncertain, although it is believed no one from the 2011-12 lineup has retired and that Bennett Salvatore, one of the top referees, will be returning after missing all last season with injuries.


  1. matt says:

    violet palmer is the worst referee ever

    in 4th quarter crunchtime PHI v SAS, the 76ers coach was yelling at her for missing an obvious foul, as coaches often do when they are upset at a referee being incompetent. in retaliation she called the biggest non foul ever on a philly player who was guarding tony parker, literally just standing next to him

    i am a DIE HARD spurs fan, but that was sickening. i have never seen anything like that before in my life in the nba. it’s terrible for the sport. and it’s only the sort of call that a woman referee would make.

    violet palmer is political correctness gone mental. literally only an nba referee because if there was not a woman nba referee, the nba would be sexist / discriminatory, and now that she is an nba referee, she cannot face any discriminatory actions (ala Joey Crawford) because it would be sexist / discriminatory for the nba to treat their only female referee that way, and to only act like that towards her, though in the reality the reason it would only be carried out against her is because she is really the only awful referee in the nba. joey crawford has gotten much better.

    any time you actually know the name of a referee you can be pretty much guaranteed they are awful. you shouldnt know their names. they should be transparent instruments of the game, not making petty power plays because they are upset at being berated for their own mistakes / incompetence / obliviousness to nba rules

  2. knickfan212 says:

    Joey Crawford is one of the bad referees in the game now. He knows his job well but he also makes revenge calls. He’ll make a blatant bad call if he doesn’t like you or something you said pissed him off. He’s also quick on techs. I think it’s time for him to be put out to pasture.

  3. simplyme says:

    Some of these refs need to retire. Last season was some of the worst officiating I have seen in the NBA.

  4. knickfan212 says:

    I think Violet Palmer is a good ref. Better than the ones I’ve been seeing calling the games. I’ve seen Violet mess a call or two but never a blatant call like I see lots of referee’s do.Looks to me that Violet is trying to call the game she sees where as some refs have you wondering if they have money bet on the game.I’ve seen non-calls when the ref was so close he got knocked down.Some calls or non calls are so obvious and so plentiful I’ve turn the channel. The bad referee calling has taken from the game. I think they need a whole new crew.

  5. Nate says:

    probably theee worst is joey crawford!!!!

  6. Ed says:

    Lol. Companies and entities are always so proud of themselves when they are considering elevating a woman to a status-position. It almost diminishes the accomplishments of the said individual(s).

  7. @JGunda says:

    If a ref missed an “elephant call”, they should be penalized also both monetary and playing time.. so they will improve and not be careless..
    i think a provision for a team to request review for a call then a third party separated from NBA and NBPA to review if a team’s appeal is valid then they give penalty to the ref responsible for the call.. this way everybody has their way to improve..

  8. Jim says:


    She was pretty bad when she came up. I sit third row all year long. But there were and are male refs just as bad if not worse.

    For the last year or two, I think she’s been much better.

    I was a college ref. Everyone misses calls. It’s about not missing the obvious ones – the elephants. It ain’t easy. Time, experience and confidence are huge.

  9. jason says:

    I hope they are not as bad as Violet Palmer. I remember watching games that she has reffed and she is really bad. She should go down to the D-League.

  10. Ladyshakalaka says:

    NBA fan can you give me examples of violet being the worst referee, because I have not seen her in any controversial call or lack thereof!

  11. Travis says:

    As long as they’re good refs I could careless would sex they are!

  12. NBA Fan says:

    Hopefully the two prospective referees are better than Violet Palmer. Palmer is one of the worst (if not the worst) NBA ref and only got to where she is in her career because she is a woman.