Euroleague Basketball’s corporate social responsibility program One Team is looking forward to 2017 in the knowledge that more clubs and players than ever are working hard to improve the lives of people in their local communities.
One Team has grown rapidly since its launch in 2012 and this season it has been expanded to include several clubs competing in the 7DAYS EuroCup, as well as every team in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
As a result, no less than 43 current and former players are acting as One Team Ambassadors for their clubs, dedicating their free time to helping others by sharing their life experiences and offering motivation for participants in activities all over Europe.
Many players have already served as One Team Ambassadors in previous seasons, including the captain of reigning EuroLeague champions CSKA Moscow, Viktor Khryapa, who was also a mentor for other players during an off-season workshop last summer.
He explained: “I am always happy to participate in One Team’s events and to help kids, people with disabilities and other social groups. I ask everyone to participate in One Team events!”
Other clubs and communities are discovering the benefits of One Team for the very first time, including EuroCup side Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem.
The Israeli club has three One Team Ambassadors: Isaac Rosefelt, Lior Eliyahu and captain Yotam Halperin, who said: “This is our first year taking part in the One Team program. It has been an amazing experience for us as well as the children we are working with.
“We at Hapoel feel very privileged to give back to the community. This is something we do year-long and we take great pride in it. To see the amount of joy and happiness we bring to less fortunate people feels better than winning on the court.”
Some of the most important days of the program’s calendar took place at the end of November, when the annual One Team Week saw all 36 teams competing in the EuroLeague and EuroCup stage special events – strongly supported by their One Team Ambassadors – to highlight their commitment to their local communities.
Ambassadors including Viktor Khryapa, Kyle Hines, Othello Hunter, Maxim Grigoryev, Devin Smith, Ioannis Bourousis, Augusto Lima, Luke Sikma, Drew Gordon and Daniel Theis, among many more, participated in the sessions to support the One Team Week.
Several former players are also heavily involved, and two-time champion Nikola Vujcic greatly enjoys his role as a Euroleague Basketball Ambassador.
“It's special for me because I have been involved with One Team since it started five years ago and have seen it grow in size and scope to help more and more people each year,” said the former Maccabi, Olympiacos and Anadolu Efes star.
“As a One Team Global Ambassador, that makes me proud, but even more so, I am happy that the many people who need it are seeing the results and feeling better about themselves.”
Another great of the game who works hard to support One Team is Theo Papaloukas, and the 2007 EuroLeague MVP said he is looking forward to helping the program continue to grow in 2017.
“As a former player who had the opportunity to travel all over Europe during my career, it’s great to see how many more people are involved in the One Team project across the continent,” he said.
“Players, clubs and the league are making a huge effort to improve the life of their local communities and personally speaking it’s a privilege to be part by helping those efforts. One Team is just getting bigger and better every year.”
One Team is supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, using basketball to achieve real social impact in our communities.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team programme has reached already directly and indirectly 12,000 participants through its various team projects.