Turkish Airlines EuroLeague players attended a special One Team session in Barcelona on Tuesday to familiarize themselves with the competition’s successful social responsibility program. For a number of players, it was their first One Team event, and the session was intended to provide an engaging introduction to the program so they are ready and able to support their club’s activities throughout the coming season.
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve meaningful social impact in communities across Europe. Since its founding in 2012, One Team has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.
Many of the players who dedicated their time to attend Tuesday’s session at FC Barcelona Lassa’s practice facilities are now looking forward to getting more involved by becoming One Team Ambassadors for their clubs next season.
Team captain Melih Mahmutoglu of reigning champion Fenerbahce Istanbul said: “This was my first One Team session and it was very interesting to learn more about the program. Some kids need help in their lives and as players and clubs we can give them that help… Fenerbahce has a lot of fans and they are amazing, and with One Team we can try to support them as much as they support us.”
The active participation of players has always been a key aspect of One Team’s effectiveness, and after joining FC Barcelona Lassa’s program last year Pau Ribas understands the importance of players serving as inspiring role models for young people in their local communities. “We present an image to children,” he explained. “When kids come watch to a basketball game, the people they see are players, and they aspire to become players themselves. But players are not so different. We were all kids once... Last season with Barca we had a program with a wheelchair team, which showed me how difficult it is to play basketball in a wheelchair, but also how happy they were to practice with professional players. If we can help people who need it, we should do it.”
The full list of players who attended this week’s event in Barcelona is: Berk Demir (Anadolu Efes Istanbul), Tornike Shengelia (Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz), Leon Radosevic (Brose Bamberg), Milko Bjelica (Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade), Andrey Vorontsevich (CSKA Moscow), Andrea Cinciarini (EA7 Emporio Armani Milan), Pau Ribas (FC Barcelona Lassa), Melih Mahmutoglu (Fenerbahce Istanbul), Sergey Monia (Khimki Moscow Region), Guy Pnini (Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv), Ioannis Papapetrou (Olympiacos Piraeus), Luka Doncic (Real Madrid), Alberto Diaz (Unicaja Malaga), Rafa Martinez (Valencia Basket) and Arturas Milaknis (Zalgiris Kaunas).