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Six FIBA referees officiated games at NBA Summer League

MIES (Switzerland) - Six FIBA referees spent the first half of July in the United States officiating games in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and learning more about their craft. 

Martin Kozlovskis of Latvia, Slovenian Boris Krejic, Italian Manuel Mazzoni, Yohan Rosso of France, Grant Todey of United States and Puerto Rican Roberto Vazquez were the six FIBA referees in Las Vegas for the games from July 6 to 12. All six have officiated numerous FIBA events including World Cups, Youth World Cups and Olympic Games basketball tournaments. 

FIBA and the NBA have had FIBA referees officiating Summer League games since 2012. FIBA and NBA Referee Operations work closely behind the scenes with different methods of cooperation to improve refereeing at the top level with the NBA Referee Operations having their full staff and top referees at the Summer League to provide guidance.

Martin Kozlovskis of Latvia on court officiating the Basketball Champions League

"This was an amazing experience for all of us. The lectures and games from the seven days we spent in Vegas were outstanding," Kozlovskis said. "At the same time, this was a place where we had to step out of our comfort zone, because of the difference between our standard rules, signals and mechanics. I believe all of the new details we got in Vegas will make us better on the court."

Kozlovskis was one of four FIBA referees at the Summer League who also officiate games in the Basketball Champions League along with Krejic, Mazzoni and Rosso.

Boris Krejic of Slovenia at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifiers 

"One small step for FIBA and the NBA, one giant leap for me," Krejic said.

"The NBA Referee Operations staff shared their expectations as managers of the referees in the NBA and G-League. It gave me an opportunity to see how they break down all situations; to feel their high expectations regarding the rules knowledge; and the respect for the mechanics," Rosso said. "Despite the mechanics and some rules being different, they have mostly the same philosophy about basketball. As we never stop learning in officiating, I am very thankful to FIBA to have this wonderful learning experience."

Yohan Rosso of France refereeing at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019

Vazquez added: "The experience of working in the Summer League was great for learning. The training sessions and highlighting the points of emphasis help us see the game differently, making our work easier on the court."

Carl Jungebrand, FIBA's Head of Refereeing, emphasized the world governing body's appreciation to the NBA for giving six officials such a valuable learning experience again.

"The cooperation with NBA Referee Operations is ten years strong and it's absolutely great to work together with this highly professional team," Jungebrand said. “This edition, and next year's, serves as preparation for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, and even though some technical and protocol differences exist, to referee a single play principle is the same for all of us and a valuable experience."