Cracks in the NBA Glass Officiating Ceiling

This is my fifth season covering the NBA D League, now the NBA L League.  A few times each season I would smile and think, “another crack in the glass ceiling,” when a woman was part of the officiating team.  Imagine my surprise, and delight, when two women, Natalie Sago (#5) and Kelly Broomfield (9), were on the court officiating the opening game of the Austin Spurs home season opener.  Welcome to the 2017 / 2018 season in the NBA G League! 

I approached Natalie and Kelly before the came told them they were role models.  Do you know what they said?  They asked for photos so they could show their parents of them at work.  I was never so happy as to take those photos. 

After a little bit of Internet research I learned that nearly one-third of the official in the G League this season are women, although, only three women are working as officials in the NBA.  NBA G League President Malcolm Turner was quoted saying: “I’m invigorated knowing there are talented and determined women in the developmental program who have access to the best training in the world.”   He added, “I believe in their ability to do this work.”

So what’s the next step?  Make the appearance of officials like Natalie and Kelly so routine that
my only thought is “another game in the NBA G League.” 

Andy Nietupski (

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