Suyash Mehta creates history by becoming the first full-time Indian origin referee in NBA

Mehta had previously plied his trade as a match official in G League and Summer League games

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

Indians have been making their mark in the National Basketball Association (NBA) scene lately.

Suyash Mehta has been promoted by the as a full-time referee which has seen him become the first Indian-origin official to become so.

Incidentally, the NBA has been impressed with the dedication demonstrated by Mehta, whose parents are from India. He was inducted along with two other referees in Simone Jelks and Andy Nagy.

"We are pleased to welcome Simone [Jelks], Suyash and Andy [Nagy] to our full-time staff," said Monty McCutchen, NBA Senior Vice President, Head of 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," he added.

In the previous campaign, he was inducted to the NBA's officiating staff for the first time. He officiated in 13 games and was one of six to be named under the title of 'non-staff officials'. He has also officiated five seasons in the NBA G League.

Mehta's parents moved to the US in the 1980s from India.

The Baltimore resident also has coaching experience at various collegiate levels including the Atlantic 10, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, NCAA Division III.

But Mehta is not the first Indian to be in a prominent role in the NBA. Satnam Singh Bhamara was picked by the Dallas Mavericks in 2015, which made him the first Indian-born to be offered a contract by a NBA outfit.

Meanwhile, Boston's Sonia Raman became the first India-origin woman coach when she was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA.

Whereas, another Indian in Vivek Ranadive holds a majority stake in the Sacramento Kings. In 2013, Mumbai-born Ranadive, along with Ronald Burkle and Mark Mastrov, reached an agreement with the Maloof family to purchase 65 per cent stakes in the Kings for approximately $348 million. Before that, he had to sell his stake in Golden State Warriors which he acquired in 2010.

NBA’s academy in India has also produced several stars recently who have received offers from USA, including Riyanshu Negi, Jagshaanbir Singh, Pranav Prince, Amaan Sandhu and Princepal Singh.