Lithuanian giant Zalgiris Kaunas has been named the proud winner of the first-ever Best One Team Programme Award.
The announcement was made at the end of this week's annual One Team workshop in Belgrade, the host city for the upcoming season's Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four.
And an extra treat came as the presentation was made by former Serbian international forward Dusko Savanovic, who has been appointed Final Four Ambassador ahead of next May's showpiece celebration of basketball in Belgrade.
The brand new Best One Team Programme Award will be presented annually to recognize clubs who have delivered particularly strong One Team activities, and Zalgiris fought off the challenge of fellow shortlisted clubs Anadolu Efes Istanbul, FC Barcelona Lassa, Real Madrid and Valencia Basket.
Throughout last season, Zalgiris Kaunas learned from its previous four years of participation in the One Team programme to start working with and actively helping young people from a local juvenile prison, offering a great example of building upon what has already been achieved to ensure more lives are impacted by One Team.
"We are very proud and grateful to become the first winners of this new award," said Akvile Dagilyte, One Team Manager at Zalgiris. "Although we don't run projects like this to get awards, it's always nice to receive recognition and we will try to continue helping people in Kaunas over the next 12 months and beyond."
Zalgiris received its honor as the One Team workshop concluded with a dinner at Kalemegdan fortress, Belgrade's famous city park.
Presenting the award, former Valencia, Efes and FC Bayern Munich player Savanovic revealed he is delighted to have joined the One Team family in his new role as Final Four Ambassador.
"This has been a great opportunity for me to get in touch with One Team and learn more about the fantastic work carried out by clubs all over Europe to support their local communities," said Savanovic, who also attended the One Team Special Olympics session earlier in the day.
"Of course, I was already aware of the programme after my time as a Euroleague player, but One Team is growing all the time and I'm excited to play a part in making sure the Final Four makes a positive lasting impression on Belgrade."
Congratulations to the winners were offered by Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball's President and CEO, who said: "Zalgiris has worked very hard to help some of the people in its local community who most needed that help, and this is exactly what One Team is all about.
"Although there can only be one winner for this new award, I would also like to congratulate and thank all the other clubs across Europe who have also put in so much effort to support our One Team initiative. I'm sure we will continue to see more great results throughout next 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 our communities across Europe. Since its founding in 2012, the One Team programme has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.