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Violet Palmer

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Information about Violet Palmer

Profile image of Violet Palmer

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Basketball Referee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pizza
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Aruba
Favorite Quote:
If You Can Dream It, You Can Be It.

Birthplace

Born:
7/20/1964
Birth Location:
Lynwood, California

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Basketball Referee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pizza
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Aruba
Favorite Quote:
If You Can Dream It, You Can Be It.

Birthplace

Born:
7/20/1964
Birth Location:
Lynwood
See how Violet Palmer is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Basketball referee Violet Palmer was born on July 20, 1964 in Lynwood, California to James and Gussie Palmer. Palmer played point guard for Compton High School’s women’s basketball team. She earned her B.A. degree in recreation administration from California Polytechnic University Pomona, where she also led the women’s basketball team to two NCAA Division II championships in 1985 and 1986.

After graduating from California Polytechnic University Pomona in 1987, Palmer worked for Placentia Recreation Department, where she began refereeing high school basketball games. In 1991, she officiated her first Division I Women’s basketball game and, officiating the NCAA Women’s Final Four from 1994 to 1997. In 1995, Palmer began training as an official for the NBA. In 1997, Palmer officiated the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) championship during the association’s inaugural season. That same year, Palmer made history as the first woman to referee a National Basketball Association game. She became the first woman to oversee a postseason game for the NBA in 2006, when she officiated a postseason matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets. From 2009 to 2010, Palmer served as the coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officiating (WBBO) for the West Coast and Pac-12 Conferences. She became the first woman to officiate an All-Star Game in any major United States sport, when she officiated the 2014 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Palmer retired as a referee from the NBA in 2016, after dealing with a long time knee injury. Over the course of her NBA career, Palmer officiated 919 NBA games. Palmer was also the first openly gay referee in NBA history.

Palmer received many awards and honors during her career, including being named a member of the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team. She was also honored with the 2013 WNBA Boost Mobile Pioneer Award, and served on the board of the National Association of Sports Officials. In 1999, Palmer was named Naismith Women’s College Official of the Year.

Palmer and her wife, Tanya Stine, have three children.

Violet Palmer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 17, 2016.

See how Violet Palmer is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Violet Palmer's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer describes her mother's interests and aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer talks about her family's move to Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer describes her parents' family backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer remembers her neighborhood in Compton, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Violet Palmer recalls a burglary at her childhood home
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Violet Palmer recounts a story about her mother protecting their home in Compton, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer describes her close knit community in Compton, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer talks about her early interest in sports
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer recalls her success as a high school athlete
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer talks about her sports idols
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer describes her position on her high school basketball team
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer describes her basketball team at Compton High School in Compton, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer talks about her extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer remembers her favorite teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer talks about the difference between men's basketball and women's basketball
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer recalls her decision to attend California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer describes her college basketball team
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer talks about the influence of her college basketball coach
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer describes her role on her college basketball team
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer recalls her experiences as a park director in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer remembers becoming a NCAA Division I basketball official
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer talks about the pay scale for college referees
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer recalls officiating her first NCAA women's game
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer talks about her mother's support for her career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer talks about the skills needed to be a referee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer recalls being approached to train as a NBA official
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer talks about the rules of college basketball and the NBA
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer remembers discriminatory rules against African American basketball players
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer talks about the challenges of officiating NBA games
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer recalls becoming the first woman official in the WBNA and NBA
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer describes the responses to her hiring as an NBA official
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her first year as a NBA referee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer recalls being scrutinized as a female NBA official
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer remembers officiating her first NBA playoff game
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer recalls the brawl between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer talks about Cedric Maxwell's sexist remarks
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer describes her working relationship with NBA players
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her experiences as a role model for young girls
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer talks about the lack of female officials in professional sports
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer recalls a scandal within the officiating profession
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer talks about mentoring new referees
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer recalls officiating her first NBA All-Star Game
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer talks about the highlights of her career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer remembers marrying her wife
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer talks about her ESPN documentary, 'Queen Vee'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her health
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer talks about her plans for the future
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer reflects upon the current NBA gameplay
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered