Becoming the EuroLeague's first female Final Four referee
The newest entry in the Euroleague Basketball Insider Documentary Series compellingly answers the question: What does it take to become the first woman referee to officiate at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four?
For Anne Panther, it started with a spark of vocation, proceeded through long years of dedication to her craft, and even required support from friends and mentors to overcome moments of doubt.
"I thought there will never be a woman in some final games, there will never be a woman as a crew chief," Panther says. "And when it happens, it was like, 'Oh my God, it's possible!'"
Calling the Shots: The Anne Panther Story recounts her climb through the ranks – from the fifth division in her native Germany to the heights of the game in Europe – and talks to those who helped her along the way.
"I think the quality of her work was easy to see from day one," Richard Stokes, Euroleague Basketball's senior director of officiating, says. "I think it's very clear that because she played, she knows the values that the players have and how the game is going to be played. And therefore her empathy for what they're doing is also at pretty high levels."
Panther's journey culminates in her Final Four debut last spring, where she proved that she belonged on the court with the best basketball players on the continent. Panther makes a tough call during a tense and emotional semifinal game, and in the aftermath, analyzes what she might have done differently, giving the documentary a dramatic turn.
"The conclusion for me was that it was not the right moment, so if I could officiate this game again, I wouldn't give the tech," Panther says the day after the game. "I would handle the situation in a different way."
From start to finish, Calling the Shots: The Anne Panther Story offers sports fans of any gender amazing insights into the fortitude needed to call the shots in the world's most intense basketball league.
Born in 2015, The Insider EuroLeague Documentary Series exemplifies the premium, long-form content on the Euroleague Basketball Originals platform. The Insider cameras go behind the scenes to provide full access to the protagonists and the people who know them best. Past documentaries have focused on coaches like Zeljko Obradovic, players like Nick Calathes and Luka Doncic, cities such as Istanbul and Belgrade, and issues such as "Women in Sports" – all taking viewers to the heart of what makes basketball a sport that moves people so deeply.