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Women to referee more men’s basketball games

Women are getting more and more attention in basketball refereeing and we can see that after the next two examples:

  1. This year Euroleague Final Four will have 8 referees including the first female referee chosen for a Final Four, Anne Panther. She`s on her third Euroleague Basketball season and worked on Euroleague playoff games in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. She is the only female referee in the Euroleague and she`s considered one of the best German officials.
  2. NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver wants more women as referees and coaches. He said: “the goal is going forward; it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league. Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball. “ Currently, there are only 3 female officials in the NBA, and Adam Silver wants that number to grow. Also in the last years, there were several women to have a bigger role in NBA, as per example Becky Hammon who became the first woman to be hired as a full-time assistant coach in 2014, with the San Antonio Spurs.

It sounds like a very good idea for me, but let`s see the pros and cons of this idea.

Pro arguments:

  • With all the problems with the referees from NBA, accepting more women will have some benefits for the league because the selection area will be extended and will be selected only the best referees, regardless of their gender.
  • This process will promote even bigger the idea of equality and diversity. NBA try to remove all the barriers with this program and give women more chances to be part of the biggest basketball league in the world and feel the pressure and the emotions officiating big games with huge crowds. Also, different fouls can be seen from a different perspective and that increases the chance to take the right decisions in any circumstances. If you can do it in the NBA, why you can`t do it all over the world?

Cons arguments:

  • I think there will be moments when women can`t make it through the intensity of men`s basketball. There will be cases when the pace of the game will be too fast for them and that can make them take a bad decision. But this will be only at the beginning. With time, those issues can be fixed, especially with good trained female referees.
  • The rule of 50-50 of new officials can be a little too big. I don`t think that we have to push women to be NBA referees, only to have this equality in officials stats. Men`s basketball is faster and more intense, and the transition from WNBA to the NBA can be tougher than we think. With the right training and practice, the transition can be easier, but this costs time.

As a general opinion, this idea is a good one. I don`t mind to see more female referees as long as they are professionals and well prepared. We see that this year in NBA, there were a lot of problems with referees decisions and many players and fans complained about it. Maybe accepting more female officials can be the solution, why not? I truly think that the world of basketball will have only to win if they accept more female as officials.

Bogdan Vasile Tirc, info@brainbasketball.net

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