NBA gets its first full-time Indian-origin referee

A few years after drafting its first Indian-origin player and a few months after getting its first Indian-origin woman coach, the National Basketball League (NBA) now has a referee who traces his roots to this country.

Suyash Mehta on Wednesday made history when he was selected by the NBA as a full-time staff official, becoming the first Indian-origin referee to get into the NBA. Mehta, who hails from Baltimore, Maryland, has been included on the roster for the 2020-21 season which started on Tuesday.

Mehta, whose parents moved to the United States in the 1980s, has officiated five seasons in the NBA G League. During the 2019-20 season that was held in a bio-secure bubble in Florida, Mehta in officiated 13 regular season games as a non-staff official. He has also officiated in numerous collegiate conferences, the NCAA Division III and at junior college level, the NBA said in a release on Wednesday.

Mehta is among three G-League referees that have been promoted by NBA to officiate games in the world’s most prestigious basketball league at a more regular basis.

While Satnam Singh Bhamara was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 2015 becoming first India-born player to be picked for NBA while Boston’s Sonia Raman became the first Indian-origin woman coach at the NBA when the MIT head coach was picked by the Memphis Grizzlies a few months back. Mumbai-born Vivek Ranadive is the first Indian to have a majority share in an NBA team.

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