Spotlight │ My Story
Karen is a distinguished FIBA referee, officiating at a number of top-level competitions including the Olympic Games. Some of the exciting venues she has traveled to include Tunisia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. A teacher by profession and a former basketball player, she began her journey as a referee in 1993. Karen is currently an Executive Board Member serving as Director of Education and Development.
While playing hoops in College, my Coach asked if I wanted to make some pocket change and officiate at the Jr. High School across the road, a couple days a week.
I figured, why not! I really enjoyed it, however wanted to play more than officiate, so upon completion of University, I continued to play Ladies League. Frustration with the officiating took over and I found myself putting my foot in my mouth one game, to which the response from the official was, “Lasuik, you actually know what you’re talking about. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and come out to the local clinic this weekend and become an official” -- and the rest is history.
Starting like we all do at the Jr. high level, I quickly worked my way up through the ranks, capitalizing on every opportunity presented to me. I fell in love with this avocation and was thirsty for more; more experience, more knowledge, more challenges! Having this desire afforded me opportunities I quite frankly wanted, but did not expect!
Never would I have thought I would work Division 1 Women’s basketball in the U.S., much less get to March Madness on a number of occasions. Nor would I ever have dreamed that my life long goal of being selected to the Olympics would come to fruition!
I am here to tell you, “You are only confined by the walls you build for yourself.” Set goals; set them high, and persevere! You will be slapped down. You will have disappointments. Instead of looking at them as failures, look at them as challenges to be better. My mantra:
DREAM – BELIEVE – WORK
FIBA Americas Women's Championship 2015
Spotlight │ My Story
On a cold winter's night in Portland, Matt Kallio became the first Canadian to referee an NBA regular season game, opening an avenue for young men and women to pursue a professional career as a referee. The game was played Monday, January 18, 2021. The San Antonio Spurs beat the Portland Trail Blazers 124 - 105. FIBA has selected Matt to referee at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
I began my basketball officiating career when I was in junior high. I refereed from Grade 7-9 to make some extra money on the weekends until my playing schedule got too busy and I stopped. Fast forward many years later and I restarted refereeing the 2006/2007 season, after I finished playing at Grant MacEwan College.
When I restarted refereeing, I did not have any ambition to pursue it internationally or professionally. Heck, was that even an option? I started and continued to referee because it kept me involved with the “game”. Every time I would enter a gym I would see a former coach, teammate, opponent, parent, friend, etc. It felt at home refereeing; the gym was home, the game was home. With time new relationships developed and I met my best friends and mentors. It was my love of the game and the new relationships that I formed that had me continue refereeing.
Fast-forward to today; Currently, I am a FIBA international referee and will be refereeing my first season in the NBA D-League. What was my progression? How did I get there? Well to be frank these questions, in my opinion, are irrelevant. When a door opens, step through it, and slam that door behind you. What ever you do, don’t forget to the close that door. When there is an opportunity, take it. When someone offers you advice, whether it is a senior official or a rookie, take it. Be a student to the game, be a good person, and be a better partner. Perseverance is key and respect is critical. Not everyone will like you but make sure they respect you. Learn from everyone’s progression but most importantly be the captain of your own progression.
My final words of wisdom are not my own and all of my mentors have reinforced in their own way:
“Be a good person, elevate the doubters, embrace the well wishers, and everything will fall into place.”
FIBA Americas Women's Championship 2015
Spotlight │ In Memoriam
Lanny White (1963-2015)
EBOA and ABOA Official Extraordinaire Lanny White Passes
The basketball referee community and the world lost one of the best. After a courageous battle with multiple myeloma, Lanny White passed away September 13, 2015 surrounded by his wife Susan, daughters Randi and Shelbi and close family.
LW was larger than life with family, friends and all those who came in contact with him. Always approachable, Lanny made you feel unique and accepted with his magnetic personality. As a referee he had a quality that is best described as the Lanny Factor. Reffing with Lanny you rose above process & correctness, he was more about intentional values, presence and a shared purpose. The result was a stress-free game, with cooperation & flexibility at the forefront. In the end it was always fun.
During his almost 30 years as an official in Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton, LW always put the game and its players first, which put him in high regard with everyone involved. An Assignor in Saskatoon once told coaches at a high school meeting, “I’ll do my best to give you good officials, but Lanny White can’t do every game!”
He was selected to 8 or 9 CIS Men’s National Championships, CCAA Nationals and numerous Canada West Playoff Series. He served as an Evaluator and Mentor provincially and locally.
A tribute to Lanny White and "Lanny's Legion" - Jake Steinbrenner with the White family and referees Perry Stothart, Kerron Lewis and Stephane Labonne
Numerous personal tributes have been posted on social media. Here’s a sampling from fellow officials, players, coaches and friends alike:
“Tonight, I say goodnight to a good friend. A friend who was a special friend, a friend that was genuine, a friend who was there when you needed a friend. Someone that I enjoyed laughing with and someone I enjoyed coaching with and someone who I enjoyed spilling the odd beer with … I will miss you and I will see you on the other side my friend.”
– Brian Anstice, Coach
“Edmonton hoops lost a champion this week. Lanny White was an incredible father, coach, husband and referee in Edmonton and all over Alberta. I met Lanny during my early years at the University of Alberta during my career as a Golden Bear. Although we at first had a very rocky relationship (me receiving technicals, him listening to my ... remarks let's call it related to my technical fouls), over the years I developed a profound sense of respect for him as a man. One major reason why our relationship grew greatly was because of his remarkably supportive, hard-working and compassionate daughters -- Randi and Shelbi. Since 2011, these incredible young ladies put forth a great deal of sacrifice to create fundraiser initiatives (under the name of Lanny's Legion Relay for Life) and in honour of their father they raised thousands of dollars … One thing I know for sure, is that I pray that I have daughters like the both of you one day, cause if I do, I know like Lanny, I'd be the proudest dad in the world … Sending plenty of love to the whole family, we definitely were privileged to have a man like Lanny be a part of the Edmonton and Alberta basketball community.”
– Andrew Parker
“Thirty years ago I refereed basketball in Calgary with a tall, red-headed guy named LANNY WHITE, who was originally from Melfort, SK. He was a longtime Roughrider fan so we became friends. After several years Lanny moved to Saskatoon were he became a university official. He then moved to Edmonton where his success on the hardcourt led to several national championships. Lanny always had a big smile on his face and you just couldn't help but like him. He was well respected on and off the court. Lanny's many friends in Edmonton and Melfort participated in several cancer fundraising events such as the Relay for Life and were known as Lanny's Legion. Rest in Peace my friend. The world is a better place because you were in it and I will not forget you.
– Ken Runquist
“Tonight our community lost a great friend! To Susan and the girls, Lanny was the most humbling, loving, gracious, respected man I knew. He taught me many things - but most of all was the importance of family! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.” Love,
– Stephane Labonne and Family
“What I will keep in my heart forever is his example of courage. 1 Corintians 16: 13 and 14 describes courage as … ’Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act with conviction, be strong. But this last part is where LW really stood out, ‘Let all you do be done in love.’ I trust Lanny’s Legion will continue to soldier on so we can keep our friend’s example alive …”
– Jake Steinbrenner
Officials across Western Canada will be honouring Lanny White’s memory and the example he set by wearing a LW crest on the left sleeve of their jerseys in the 2015-16 season.