Home / World / 20 years ago Sandhi Ortiz-Del Valle sued the NBA charging she was blocked from becoming a referee because she’s a woman; the jury agreed, though today it still hurts

20 years ago Sandhi Ortiz-Del Valle sued the NBA charging she was blocked from becoming a referee because she’s a woman; the jury agreed, though today it still hurts

Willis Reed, the former Nets GM, scheduled Ortiz-Del Valle for preseason scrimmages for a few seasons in New Jersey, which overlapped with Drazen Petrovic’s short career. But in order to land a full-time NBA gig, Ortiz-Del Valle required an invite to the league’s annual summer training camp. From that program, a small group of officials was considered for a promotion to the big league. Despite her groundbreaking appearances in the USBL and persistent lobbying for an NBA job, Ortiz-Del Valle was never extended an invitation. She says attempts to contact former commissioner David Stern, former vice president of operations Rod Thorn, former supervisor of officials Darell Garretson, among others in the chain of command, went nowhere.

Stefan Bondy

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