Top 5 Highest Paid Female Referees In NBA [Updated 2024]

The NBA, which stands for the National Basketball Association, is a professional basketball league in the United States. It’s one of the major sports leagues in North America and is known for its high level of play, featuring some of the world’s best athletes, including those skilled in rebounding drills in basketball. In the realm of such a competitive and male-dominated sport, the role of referees is crucial.

Notably, the inclusion of female referees in the NBA marks a significant step towards diversity and equality in the sport. These trailblazing women are breaking barriers and setting new standards, proving that the ability to officiate at the highest levels of basketball transcends gender.

Their presence on the court, alongside players who excel in various aspects of the game, such as Average Wnba Salary, underscores the NBA’s commitment to inclusivity and excellence in every facet of the game.

How Does The Career Progression Of A Female NBA Referee Typically Look Like

The career progression of a female NBA referee typically involves several stages:

  • Playing Background: Many start with a background in playing basketball, often at the college level.
  • Early Officiating: They begin officiating at lower levels, such as high school and amateur leagues.
  • Advancing through Ranks: Progression through collegiate officiating and then to the G-League.
  • Gaining Experience: Accumulating experience in various leagues, including the WNBA.
  • NBA Entry: After years of experience and demonstrating their skill, they may be selected to join the NBA as referees.

Top 5 Female Referees In NBA : 

1. Lauren Holtkamp: 

Lauren Holtkamp: 

Lauren Holtkamp, born in Jefferson City, Missouri, is known for breaking barriers as the first mother to officiate in the NBA. With a basketball background at Southwest Missouri State University, she brought over a decade of experience, including officiating in the WNBA and FIBA, to the NBA. Her journey is marked by dedication and a pioneering spirit.

  • Born: November 24, 1980, in Jefferson City, Missouri.
  • Notable Achievement: First mother to officiate an NBA game.
  • Background: Played basketball at Southwest Missouri State University, and officiated over 200 NBA season games, WNBA, and FIBA games.
  • Country: United States
  • Teams: NBA, WNBA, FIBA
  • Social media:  Lauren Holtkamp

2. Simone Jelks: 

Simone Jelks:

Simone Jelks, from Cleveland, Ohio, transitioned from a player to a referee, bringing a richly varied background including a Master’s in Public Health and experience as a Spanish teacher. Her journey reflects a deep commitment to basketball and an impressive ability to excel in multiple fields.

  • Born: March 9, 1986, in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Background: Played basketball in college and overseas, worked as a Spanish teacher, has a Master’s in Public Health and Urban Secondary Teaching.
  • Country: United States
  • Teams: NBA, Collegiate Basketball Teams in Puerto Rico and Croatia
  • Social media: Simone Jelks  

3. Ashley Moyer-Gleich: 

Ashley Moyer-Gleich: 

Born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Ashley Moyer-Gleich started her career in sports as a Division II basketball player. Her path to the NBA, where she began officiating in 2018, is marked by a strong family connection to sports refereeing and a passion for basketball.

  • Born: August 5, 1987, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
  • Background: Played Division II college basketball, married to NCAA referee Johnee Gleich, and started as an NBA referee in 2018.
  • Country: United States
  • Teams: NBA, WNBA, NBA G League
  • Social media: Ashley Moyer-Gleich 

4. Natalie Sago: 

Natalie Sago

Natalie Sago, a native of Farmington, Missouri, showcases a diverse athletic background, having played collegiate softball. Her officiating career spans the NBA-G League and the WNBA, demonstrating her versatility and dedication to the sport.

  • Born: May 24, 1989, in Farmington, Missouri.
  • Background: Played collegiate softball, graduated in K-12 Physical Education, and officiated NBA-G League and WNBA games.
  • Country: United States
  • Teams: NBA, NBA G League, WNBA
  • Social media: not available 

5. Jenna Schroeder: 

 Jenna Schroeder

Jenna Schroeder, from Flint, Michigan, stands out for her unique path to the NBA, balancing jobs as a bartender and referee. With a degree in Communications from Saginaw Valley State University, she has officiated in the ACC, Atlantic 10, and Big East, highlighting her journey of determination and resilience.

  • Born: 1985, in Flint, Michigan.
  • Background: Attended Saginaw Valley State University, worked in ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, officiated WNBA and NBA G League games before joining the NBA.
  • Country: United States
  • Teams: NBA, ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, WNBA, NBA G League
  • Social media: Jenna Schroeder 

How Many Female Referees Are Currently In The NBA?

The eight female referees currently in the NBA 

  • Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling: Lauren started her NBA career in 2016, with prior experience in various high-level NCAA basketball games and the NBA G-League. She is notable for being the first mother to officiate an NBA game. Her background includes playing basketball at Southwest Missouri State University.
  • Simone Jelks: A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Simone began officiating in the NBA in the 2019 season. She has a history as a basketball player and also worked as a Spanish teacher. Simone has a Master’s in Public Health and in Urban Secondary Teaching.
  • Ashley Moyer-Gleich: Ashley, from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, started as an NBA referee in 2018. She played basketball at Millersville University and has officiated in the NBA G-League and WNBA.
  • Natalie Sago: Born in Farmington, Missouri, Natalie became a full-time NBA referee after officiating in the NBA G-League and WNBA. She has a background in softball, playing at Jefferson and Drury University.
  • Jenna Schroeder: Jenna, who joined the NBA in 2018, worked her way up from refereeing AAU games. She has a diverse background, balancing careers as a bartender and referee.
  • Danielle Scott: Danielle worked her way through the G-League and WNBA before joining the NBA. At 31, she has extensive experience at all levels of basketball.
  • Cheryl Flores: Cheryl refereed 12 regular-season games in the NBA during the 2021-22 season. She has a decade of experience in the WNBA and nine seasons in the NBA G-League.
  • Dannica Mosher: Like Flores, Dannica also refereed 12 regular-season games in the NBA last season. She has officiated in the NBA G-League and WNBA and also worked in the WNBA Finals.

Are There Any Notable Moments Or Firsts Involving Female NBA Referees

Are there any notable moments or firsts involving female NBA referees

There have been several notable moments and firsts involving female NBA referees. One significant milestone occurred on January 25, 2021, when Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder made history by being the first two women to officiate the same NBA game. This event marked a significant step forward in the inclusion and recognition of female referees in professional basketball, showcasing their skills and contributions at the highest level of the sport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How does the NBA select and train female referees?
Ans: Through scouting, rigorous training camps, and evaluations focused on game knowledge and decision-making skills.

Q2. What impact have female referees had on the NBA so far?
Ans: They’ve enhanced game integrity, promoted gender equality, and inspired a more inclusive sports culture.

Q3. Are there any specific challenges female referees face in the NBA?
Ans: Overcoming gender biases and proving their capabilities in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Q4. How does the presence of female referees in the NBA influence young female athletes?
Ans: It motivates them by showing that high-level achievements in sports are possible regardless of gender.

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