Danielle Scott decided to join the family business. She’s taken it to a new level.
Scott, the daughter of college basketball officials, was promoted Monday to the full-time NBA staff referee roster. She becomes the sixth woman on the current staff, joining Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling, Ashley Moyer-Gleich, Simone Jelks, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder.
That’s the most the NBA has ever had on staff at one time, and Scott said she hopes the notion of female referees in the league no longer seems unusual.
“I think that they’ve accepted us at this point,” Scott said. “So, I think if we’re not there, we’re very, very close to being there.”
Scott spent four seasons working in the G League before her promotion; the two other full-time hires announced Monday, John Conley and Brandon Schwab, also are moving up from the G League. They all worked between 20 and 26 games as non-staff referees last season.
Conley was in the G League for seven seasons, Schwab for five and, like Scott, they also worked WNBA games this season.
“It’s continuing our thought of ‘What do good officials look like?’” said Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s senior vice president and head of referee development and training. “They look like anyone you see on the street. They look like men, they look like women, they look like people from different cultures. There’s both diversity and inclusion in our hires.”
And Scott, who is Black, has already seen the impact she can have.
She was working a G League game in California when a man approached her at halftime and asked her to take a postgame photo with his three daughters. The young Black girls were overjoyed when she obliged.
“Representation matters,” Scott said. “I took the picture with them and they just were asking me all these questions, so it was really rewarding. Sometimes with the job, the stress, the day to day, you don’t realize the impact that you have. And just that moment, it was really awesome for me and it made me realize, ‘Wow, people are looking at me.’”
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