Mehta previously officiated in G League and Summer League games.
Indian Americans have been making their mark in the National Basketball Association (NBA) scene lately. Now Suyash Mehta has become the first Indian American official to be named a full-time NBA referee.
Mehta, whose parents are from India, had been named to the league’s officiating staff for the first time for the 2019-20 season, according to NBA.com. He was promoted with two other referees, 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, Mehta 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 person of Indian origin 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 an NBA outfit.
Boston’s Sonia Raman became the first Indian American woman coach when she was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA.
Vivek Ranadive, another Indian American, 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, according to NBA.com.
Memphis Grizzlies hire Indian American Sonia Raman as assistant coach (September 24, 2020)
Indian Basketball player Amjyot Singh enters 2017 NBA G League Draft (October 23, 2017)