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Dover Called for Travel to NBA

Photo courtesy of Lachie Millard / News Corp Australia

There have been plenty of headlines about Hungry Jack’s NBL identities making it to the NBA, and now another name can be added to the long list.

The league’s first Indigenous female referee, Jacqui Dover, is NBA bound, selected as one of six referees to participate in the NBA’s Referee Development Program.

“I have no doubt that the NBL helped me to become a better official,” Dover said.

“The thing I'm most excited for is just that exposure to the best refs. The idea is to prepare us for the pro-leagues and the opportunity to then go to camps. Then get signed to the G-League with the aim to get into the NBA at some point in time.

“It's a bit of an opportunity for me to be exposed to the system over there and how they work and their rules, and then have access to the likes of Monty McCutchen and all the guys that were NBA referees and now work for the NBA in the ref department. I'm pretty excited about that.”

Dover will be an NBA Trainee Referee based in the NBA’s New York office, working in the Referee Operations Department.

Dover, the NBL’s first female Indigenous referee, debuted last season in Indigenous Round. She is a proud Yugambeh woman and has previously worked in the WNBL, NBL1 and at Basketball New South Wales as its Indigenous, Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Programs Manager.

Dover hopes her journey can be used as an inspiration for other young, aspiring officials across Australia.

“Refereeing probably isn't the choice for a lot of players growing up,” Dover said.

“But when I did get into the referee space, having Scott Butler, who runs our NBL program, and to be the first Indigenous official to be out on the court for us, they're the types of people I have always looked up to.

“It’s great to be in an environment that embraces culture because it means we can go out there and show that anyone can be doing it.

“I wasn't quite expecting the coverage that came out of my first game last season, but if that means that there's going to be some young officials, Indigenous or non-Indigenous, females or males, that now want to make this a pathway, I think it’s worthwhile.”

Dover says the NBL apprenticeship will hold her in good stead for the big time. “I felt a lot more comfortable within my ability to be out there,” she said.

“I think the NBL program has helped me definitely to be able to step out on the NBL court and then hopefully onto the NBA court one day.”

Dover will relocate to New York in mid-January and will officiate NBL games until that point.

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