Meet Blanca Burns, the first Mexican-born female referee to officiate an NBA game. Burns worked her first game as an NBA referee on December 27 2021 in a match between the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. She even got an earful from legendary coach Gregg Popovich.
Burns wishes to fulfil her lifelong dream of representing Mexico at the international level and inspire the next generation of Latin American women.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I always had a basketball in my hand,” Burns said. “I played the game at every level in school.”
Burns focus eventually shifted from playing to officiating. Since 2018, she’s balanced NCAA duties with G League duties and eventually earned her first NBA assignment. Her next goal is to become a regular NBA referee as she’s currently one of the nine part-time officials working the 2021-2022 season. Currently the NBA lists six women referees, the highest number in league history.
During the NBA’s last visit to Mexico in 2019, commissioner Adam Silver announced the Mexico City Capitanes would become the first G League franchise outside of the United States and Canada. The team made its debut last year.
“I try to go to summer camps and reach out to girls at the high school level and tell them it’s possible for women to do this. I need to continue giving myself exposure, so that they say ‘Oh my gosh, if she did it — I can do it,’” Burns said.
Written by Barrio Team