“‘You’re not going to make it.’ ‘Why are you here? Go back to WNBA.’ ‘Players and coaches are not going to accept you.’ ‘Your guys that you work with, they’re not going to accept you.’ ” Palmer described, “I used to wear my hair long, and they’d go, ‘Oh, your ponytail is too tight,’ or ‘You need glasses.’ I still know that being on the court when I’m doing my job, it’s not personal.”
The Compton native first began officiating high school and college for 9 years, including 5 NCAA Final Four tournaments and 2 NCAA championship games. When the NBA offered try- outs, it was an offer she wouldn’t refuse. “You give me a shot … you know how you crack the door? I just kicked it.” Palmer declared. She was one of 2 female referees at the time.
But she became accustomed to being the female singled out. She was the only girl on her Little League baseball team. She went on to play basketball in junior and high school, garnering her a full scholarship to California Polytechnic State University.
On the road 22 days per month, Palmer described her first NBA game as a referee. “I was scared out of my wits. It was so much going on, so much excitement. But for me, as soon as I walked out on that floor and we tossed the ball, now it was time to go to work.”
Despite traveling on the road 22 days per month, Palmer continues to maintain herself mentally and physically for such a demanding feat. But she may have additional “girl power” assistance in the near future, “The bar is really high, but I can honestly say we have two women right now that are in our training program, and they are awesome.”