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Lauren Holtkamp is the NBA’s third female referee, and has vaulted into the news due to Chris Paul’s criticism of her after the Clippers-Cavaliers game on Thursday night. 

Paul said after he received a technical foul–one of five called by the refs during the heated game–that Holtkamp’s reasoning was “ridiculous.” He said he merely questioned her about getting an inbounds pass out quicker. 

“I don’t care what nobody says, I don’t care what she says; that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why, uh-uh?’ And she gave me a tech,” he said. “That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

Holtkamp is one of only two women who currently ref in the NBA, as the third woman in league history stopped a long time ago. 

Holtkamp, 34, played basketball at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, a Division II school, where she also pursued her master’s in marketing and communications. Her start in referring came when she was invited by a former teammate’s father to a local refs meeting, and in 2004 reffed her first game, a middle-school girls game.

“You could tell early she was extremely poised, extremely intelligent, and had a desire to be good,” Kelly Holt, who was head of the Southwest Missouri Basketball Officials Association while Holtkamp worked middle school and high school games in his area, told Grantland.

Holtkamp had plans to attend Emory University to get her master’s in divinity, but ultimately decided against it as her refereeing progress. She made friends with former WNBA refs, who helped her advance to the next level four years later. That’s when she began reffing games in the D-League, or the NBA’s equivalent of a minor league. She also started working WNBA and women’s college games around the same time

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NOPACTalent acts as a Celebrity Speakers Bureau and Athlete Booking agency for corporate functions, appearances, private events and speaking engagements. NOPACTalent does not claim or represent itself as Lauren Holtkamp’s speakers bureau, agent, manager or management company for Lauren Holtkamp or any celebrity on this website. NOPACTalent represents organizations seeking to hire motivational speakers, athletes, celebrities and entertainers for private corporate events, celebrity endorsements, personal appearances, and speaking engagements.

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