Blogging with Jacqui Dover: All-Star

A proud Yugambeh woman, Jacqui Dover is changing the game as a trailblazing referee.

Kicking off 2023, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the NBA All-Star Weekend in Utah, and what an experience that was! 

As part of the NBA Referee Development Program, myself and five other officials worked the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) games held at the Utah Jazz Training Facility. 

This saw some of the top male athletes in the BWB program come together from around the world to practice, train and be exposed to NBA players and scouts. The games were competitive and fast-paced, adding another great experience to my time over here. 

Utah was freezing, but the view from the top of a mountain I managed to squeeze a walk up was beautiful. 

After the games each morning, we then had the afternoons free to attend the events and just enjoy the unique opportunity to be in the All-Star environment, kicking it off with the Rising Stars game, and seeing some of the Aussies out there too. 

I’d have to say my favourite event was the 3-point and Dunk Contest event night. The atmosphere was surreal and some of those dunks were even better! 

Growing up as a basketball kid loving the game and watching NBA games on television from the other side of the world, I would never have thought I’d be sitting in the arena at All-Star weekend watching the top athletes out there playing in the main game (although I’m sure like many others, I didn’t think it was exactly Gold medal Olympics intensity game.)

Following All-Star weekend, a lot of my time was spent in both the FIBA and NBA rule books to prepare for tryouts and complete my FIBA testing for the next licensing period. I don’t think there’s ever too much study that can be done off the court to prepare ourselves for the unique situations that can play out on the floor while we are in the midst of an intense game – That’s a big element of my learning and development over the past five years, I’ve really tried to embrace and continue to improve. 

I’m on the home stretch now to mid-level camp in the middle of May to implement the past twelve months of highs and lows to get to the goal of securing a G-League contract in June/July. 

The goal is to be writing about my Summer League experience as a new hire in the G League next! 

Until then, I’ll be working leagues here in NY, attending camps and even making a trip home at the end of May to renew my visa, where I will work the NBL1 North competition and spend some quality time with my family. 

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