San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker caught up with an old friend in Vilnius when he came face to face once again with NBA refereeing guru Ronnie Nunn.
Within seconds of meeting, the pair became locked in deep conversation and it didn’t take long for Parker to give Nunn a glowing report about the current crop of EuroBasket 2011 game officials.
“I think the biggest thing I am happy with this year is the way that we can talk to the referees,” explained Parker.
“Obviously this is all about showing them a lot of respect and making sure you don’t scream. It has to be a two-way conversation if you want to be able to learn and talk about things with them.”
“In the NBA, we get to see the referees every few days so you have more of an opportunity to develop a relationship – something which is of course more difficult with the National Team as you might not see referees for one or maybe even two years.
“If you approach referees in the right and proper way, you should always be able to have a conversation and I really like that.”
“Basketball is a game of emotion and communication between players and referees is hugely important.
“Inevitably you will sometimes react to calls while on the court but you still have to try and show a lot of respect to the referees in those type of situations. As players we have to accept it won’t change the call but it helps if you can maybe try to understand why it was made.”
The pair have an unmistakable mutual respect for each other with Nunn having officiated Parker during a 20-year stint as an NBA referee before being appointed as Director of Officiating.
The feedback from Parker was music to his ears having spent time recently collaborating with FIBA Europe to help further develop referees.
“Tony brings up a great subject and it’s important because he is a gentleman and one of the great leaders not only in the NBA, but also for France and indeed for basketball right across the world,” Nunn said.