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Simone Jelks promoted, is 7th woman to be full-time NBA ref

December 23, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2020, file photo, referee Simone Jelks gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers in Miami. Jelks was one of three referees promoted to full-time status by the NBA on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 making her the fifth woman on the current lineup of officials. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2020, file photo, referee Simone Jelks gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers in Miami. Jelks was one of three referees promoted to full-time status by the NBA on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 making her the fifth woman on the current lineup of officials. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Simone Jelks was one of three referees promoted to full-time status by the NBA on Wednesday, making her the fifth woman on the current lineup of officials.

Jelks joins the group of female NBA referees that also includes Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling, Ashley Moyer-Gleich, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder. Jelks becomes the seventh female full-time ref in NBA history, with the current five preceded by Dee Kantner and Violet Palmer.

Jelks worked 16 regular-season NBA games as a non-staff official last season. The former USC player has also worked games in the G League for the last three seasons.

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Suyash Mehta and Andy Nagy were also promoted to full-time Wednesday. They have a combined 11 years of G League experience and each worked 13 NBA games in non-staff roles last season.

“We are pleased to welcome Simone, Suyash and Andy to our full-time staff,” said Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s senior vice president overseeing referee development and training. “They have demonstrated through the growth and the quality of their performance, they warrant working NBA games on a regular basis.”

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