New Delhi [India], April 10 (ANI): After officiating for five seasons in the G League and working as a non-staff official in the 2019-20 NBA season, Indian origin Suyash Mehta was one of three to be promoted to the rank of full-time official at the start of the 2020-21 NBA season.
As a result, he became the first-ever Indian origin referee in the NBA. Talking about his appointment, Mehta said that he can never forget the moment where he got the news of him being elevated to a full-time official.
"It is something that I will never forget, November 27, 2020, and I remember it like yesterday. That is the day I got the call from our direct supervisor Monty and I know exactly where I was at when I got the call and what time it was. I remember getting the call and completely freezing and melting down and saying if this was real and if this really happened. I took a moment to really understand all the years of sacrifice and hard work had finally paid off," said Mehta during a virtual press conference.
"After that, I made the first call to my parents to tell them that I was hired as a full-time NBA referee and hearing the joy in their voices because they were also there for the entire journey of me putting back medical school going through the five years in the developmental league which was finally paying off. It was a phone call I will never forget, I will always cherish that, and I hope that I always remember the humility that has brought me to the point where I am today," he added.
Mehta's connection with India lies with his parents, who were born in India and then migrated to the United States in the 1980s. His father, a native of Chandigarh, Punjab, is a retired physician who specialised in internal medicine. On the other hand, his mother -- a native of Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh -- was a botanist.
Mehta, who revealed that he had played basketball in high school and some club basketball at the University of Maryland, never thought that he would become a referee, let alone an NBA referee.
"It was something that I was doing as a part-time job in college. And then, we had this opportunity after college that allowed me to pretty much try out for the minor league, which was the NBA D League at the time, which is now the NBA G League," said Mehta.
Mehta's first game as an official full-time NBA referee had come just days after the announcement of him being made a full-time official was made public. It was a game between the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 27.
"I just went out and walked right down to the Chicago Bulls floor and took a quick five-second, 360-degree turn around the arena," Mehta shared about his first game, doing exactly as a mentor had told him."And said, wow, you know, we're in an NBA arena. I'm in the center of the floor. And this is a really, really cool, humble experience," said Mehta. (ANI)