End of another era: Antio calls it a career

Breaking news on Facebook today! Antio Sinterniklaas, one of Hollands most decorated refs of the last years, announced his immediate retirement in a post on his private wall. Sinterniklaas was elected best referee of the country no less than nine times, since 2014 back to back to back.


‘Dear Friends,

The last months I have struggled with one of the most difficult decisions in my life; ending my career as a basketball referee. After being a referee for 30 years it’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s a lifestyle! But unfortunately my physical problems the last few years forced me to make this decision.

It’s a decision with a heavy heart, but rationally I know it’s the right decision to make. I strongly believe that players and coaches deserve a 100% mental and physical fit referee on court each game and as a referee you can only perform at your best if these two things are in perfect balance.

Being an (international) basketball referee has really contributed to my development as a person and brought a lot of joy in my life! I have visited a lot of places and counties, had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and worked with great colleagues, players, coaches and club-volunteers on and off the basketball court.

I will continue to share my passion for basketball and refereeing as a referee coach in The Netherlands. I thank you all for your support all these years and I am looking forward to meet you again somewhere in Europe!

All the best!

Sinterniklaas internationally too made his name as he was called up for the Worldcup u17 in Amsterdam in 2012 (picture right) and Eurobasket 2015 just a few seasons later.

The first time I met him was in a 2nd league game in 1997-1998 in Rotterdam. Never even heard about his strides, but was impressed with the coolness he showed in the game, obviously enjoying his task that Sunday afternoon. Later that season I read he had his B-license in training as well. The guy really knew his sports!  Some years later he went on to get his FIBA badge and cemented his name as one of the premier guys in the nation. In his rise to the top he never lost his cool and always has been a great partner in conversations about basketball in general or officiating in particular. The referee-house as it’s called in Holland is blossoming thanks to his efforts too. He is a regular speaker on sessions organized around the country, such as the officiating’s cool referee event of January 2017 in Bemmel (picture left above) and has been a coach for the potential referees for several years now. I really hope to be able to add him to our staff at officiating’s cool someday, now that he’s no longer on his way for FIBA or national league, but there are more camps and clinic organisers trying to lure him in already I read.

His shoes will be big ones to fill. But I’m sure with his help as a coach there will be an increase in quality for Dutch reffing. Too bad I never got the chance to team up with him 🙂

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