Euroleague Basketball's corporate social responsibility programme, One Team, touched down in Asia for the third year in a row this week as part of Euroleague Basketball World Tour 2015. Panathinaikos Athens was the protagonist this season both of the exhibition games in China, against the Zhejiang Lions and Guangdong Tigers, and of One Team sessions benefitting children in each of the cities that hosted the Greens.
One Team’s chief message is to show how basketball integrates communities. The goal of the sessions was to show the children positive values from the game of basketball, with teamwork at the top of the list.
The first session, in Hangzhou on Sunday, was delivered to a group of 40 school children and featured some of the youngest Panathinaikos players: Vasilis Charalampopoulos, Giorgos Papagiannis, Michalis Lountzis and Giorgos Kalaitzakis.
"We saw the kids play basketball, which was our pleasure," Charalampopoulos said. "We practiced with them. We worked like a team with them. It was a nice experience."
"We are very happy to be here in Hangzhou and see these young people trying to play the game of basketball," Papagiannis said. "It was a great activity."
The team's second One Team session took place earlier today, in Macau and again drew upwards of 40 school children.
Panathinaikos’ new center and One Team Ambassador, Miroslav Raduljica, led the program. "I always like to do these activities with the kids because it is something special when you see the smiles on their faces.” Raduljica said. “And you help them smile with your help, so I am glad I could make it here to be a part of this." He was joined by Panathinaikos head coach Aleksandar Djordjevic and teammates Ognjen Kuzmic and Nick Calathes. "It's great to be here.” Calathes assured. “These kids, they seem to love basketball and this made their day. For us it's a privilege to be able to do this."
One Team is the corporate social responsibility project created by Euroleague Basketball to use the power of basketball as a tool to integrate at-risk communities in 14 countries through grass-roots activities that have reached more than 10,000 participants to date thanks to the help of One Team Founding Patron Turkish Airlines.
One Team enters the 2015-16 season stronger than ever, with every single club in the 24-team Euroleague taking part, boosted by the addition of newcomers Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir, Stelmet Zielona Gora and Strasbourg. At the same time, Umana Reyer Venice and Dolomiti Energia Trento have joined the cause to bring the list of Eurocup teams endorsing One Team projects and programs to 10.
Panathinaikos follows in the footsteps of two other iconic clubs who brought One Team to China. Real Madrid took the One Team message to Beijing two years ago, while FC Barcelona Lassa was also in Hangzhou this time last year helping a different school use basketball to help disadvantaged kids.
“We at Euroleague Basketball take great pride in the success of One Team and its projects in 14 countries across Europe,” said Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO, Euroleague Basketball. “Now with Panathinaikos bringing One Team to China, we continue exporting this wonderful program and its important messages around the globe. The Euroleague Basketball World Tour 2015 has also seen One Team sessions in Brazil and will celebrate also in New York next week and we could not be happier.”