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Whistle While You Work


In 1997, Violet Palmer became the NBA's first female referee, and after 919 games Palmer, 52, retired last Thursday after battling knee injuries toward the end of her career. She became the first woman to work the postseason when she called Game 2 of the first-round Eastern Conference matchup between the Pacers and the Nets in 2006, and she'll continue to work for the NBA as a manager in referee operations. A former point guard, the 5'9" Palmer led Cal Poly--Pomona to D-II national basketball titles in 1985 and '86. In '97 she told SI that the biggest challenge of refereeing NBA players was their size. "They're so much bigger that it's hard just to see around them," Palmer said.