I feel like I don’t need to introduce Luigi Lamonica to you, as every aspiring referee would know who he is, for sure each of you have seen his Euroleague games, European or World Championship or Olympic games officiated, live and in TV. Even maybe some of you read his book “Decidere” published few years ago. Still I have a great pleasure of writing few words toward presenting Luigi as our instructor at the camp, and we are extremely happy, that he joined our team for the camp in Radom.
Luigi became a referee in 1978 in Italy in the age of 15. Then 15 years later he joined the top league in his country and 3 years after obtained the international referee FIBA license. His career can be divided in the Italian part of it, with a track record of 698 games, 23 years in play off list with 23 Championship Games, 20 times nominated in Italy Cup Final4 / Final8, with 9 Championship Games. But the bigger part of his career is international with more than 900 game nominations:
2 Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 – London 2012)
2 World Cup (Turkey 2010 – Spain 2014)
6 Eurobasket (Sweden 2003 – Serbia 2005 – Spain 2007 – Lithuania 2011 – Slovenia 2013 – France 2015)
1 America Tournament (Puerto Rico 2009)
8 Euroleague Final4 (Bologna 2002 – Athens 2007 – Barcelona 2011 – Istanbul 2012 – London 2013 – Berlin 2016 –Istanbul 2017 – Belgrade 2018)
3 Final Eurocup (Vitoria 2010 – Kazan 2014 – Valencia 2017)
3 Final4 FIBA Europa League (Kazan 2004 – Istanbul 2005 – Kiev 2006)
1 Pre-Olympic Tournament (Philippines 2016)
Please find Luigi’s career highlights here: http://www.referee.pl/index.php/our-team/luigi-lamonica
Luigi is one of this charismatic people that you can listen to him and the basketball stories all the time. He has a great connection while talking to the audience. Many people follow him and want to learn from him. Luigi is being recognized for his charisma, enthusiasm and protagonism in the basketball referee world and as he says himself he takes most energy from working with younger referees and hoping to share with them his professional experience at the camps and training he joins all over the world.
Amongst others Luigi’s differentiating factors will always be his individual style, way of approaching the game and game attendees being his team partners, players, coaches and audience. Also, impressive track record of the nominations and difficult decisions that in a top-level game someone has to carry and take the responsibility for.
It is an immense distinction to have Luigi Lamonica in the REFEREE.PL 2015 Camp in Radom.
Please see below few words from Luigi before the camp.
Referee whose biography is published even before the end of career in the top moment of officiating life, what were your goals back then, what were you thinking about this whole life path, versus what are your goals now, have they changed?
Luigi Lamonica: Oh yes, my goals were changing many times, and this is very positive from my point of view. I think that setting goals in life was made to push us to work hard to try to reach them. For sure at the beginning of my career I couldn’t even dreamt that now it needs 2 pages to write down all the significant steps of my career, and at every step reached, another goals came in my mind and other long days of practices, studies, bad decisions happened before to reach the new ones.
Goals pushed me, dream pushed me as well.
Now what I would really like to reach is to leave some of my experience and my enthusiasm and passion, to the young referees, that are eager for the officiating, that desire the hard work to reach their own goals.
Do you have any dreams and wishes for your still ongoing active referee career?
Luigi Lamonica: As I said before now the young referees are my goal, because I know that the only game that I dreamt but did not officiate is the Olympic Final and it will stay a fantastic dream for the rest of my life.
I still actively officiating in Euroleague and Eurocup competitions and I know that many young referees look at my game to caught something from my game, well this is my goal to be a model from them.
What will be your next step?
Luigi Lamonica: Try to be fit and updated .... there is young referee generation following my games, so I still have a lot of job to do on the court. ?
If not being a referee, what else would you do?
Luigi Lamonica: After so many years I can tell you, that there is no other job that I would like to do. I always thought when I was young, that the most important thing was to do something that I really love, something that when you go to bed in the night you tell to yourself “I cannot wait for tomorrow, because I want to go to work” and when you wake up the morning later “Thanks God is time to go to work”. I think that we can call this “a dream” and for the last 15 years of my job this is what’s happened to me...... I love so much what I am doing now that for me is not a job anymore, I am in that group of people that can say “my job is what I love, my job is my hobby”.
This year is 40 years since you became a referee. First, wow. Second, what is the best moment of this past 4 decades on and off the court for you?
Luigi Lamonica: Way too much to tell, but for sure the 2 nominations for the Olympic Games and Championship Game at 2010 World Cup in Turkey or my 1st Euroleague Final in Athens 2007 are in a special place. Outside the court all amazing experience, that I had visiting countries, travelling in different continents with so different culture, walking over the Great Wall in China or in the Red Square in Moscow. But what really made me a lucky human being is the fact that I met so many great people and have good friends, who are always ready to help me.
Is there any special game or decision that always comes to your head and you like to think it through again and again?
Luigi Lamonica: Yes there are and because I think that the only way for a referee to improve his performance is learn from his own mistakes I am still thinking of a bad performance. Eurobasket 2005 game between Spain and Croatia was a bad performance and I learned a lot from that game.
Do you like the development and progress in modern officiating?
Luigi Lamonica: Basketball is a very dynamic sport, with young, competent audience, who wants to see as much as possible spectacular game and we also have great players. Our sport probably is the one that changes, introduces, updates its rules faster than any other to try to attract more and more fans. And officiating has also adapted itself to the new philosophy.
But what I do not like that sometimes we change something just because someone feels the necessity to change and not because the game and the referees need that change, but then go back because that changes did not fit perfectly to European basketball.
How has Euroleague changed in the past 18 years that you have been working for the league?
Luigi Lamonica: In my opinion, Euroleague did not change, it developed itself to the needs of the fans. Euroleague growth is visible to everybody, it is the best club competition in Europe and after NBA playoffs even the most interesting worldwide. Last year I was invited at the NBA Summer League and to my great surprise (I felt proud about it), some NBA colleagues told me, that they regularly watch Euroleague games, because they like the atmosphere in European arenas and the pathos of the Euroleague games. Many colleagues from other continents “steal” the style and habits from Euroleague referees. It means, that Euroleague is a worldwide competition, that brings European Basketball in every corner of the globe and this is amazing.
This year we have 15th edition of Kuba’s camp, and for you first time. I would comment: eventually... what do you say? ?
Luigi Lamonica: Thanks to Kuba for his invitation. He tried other times to bring me in to his camp, but when I was active referee in Italy I always had obligations with Italian League and it was extremely complicate for me to attend to it. So when I received Kuba’s call this summer and not having anymore any duty in this period I was more than happy to accept his invitation. It will be a great pleasure for me to be in Poland for the camp!
I know you like to work with young referees and talented referees. Any special plan for the Radom camp?
Luigi Lamonica: I will try to do all I can to leave to the camp participants part of my experience and enthusiasm for the officiating. I will be there to work with them and share with them every second of my day and I am ready to work hard with them and answer to all question...