The role played in local communities around the continent by One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, will become bigger than ever this season as a record number of clubs and players get involved.
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 positive social impact across Europe.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focussed projects.
And this season the project is taking another major stride forward, with all 40 clubs competing in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup running their own One Team programs for the very first time.
The initiative receives plenty of support from an impressive total of 106 One Team Ambassadors – current and former players and coaches – who work hard to increase the impact of the program at both local and international levels.
Among the longest-serving supporters of the project is CSKA Moscow center and three-time EuroLeague champion Kyle Hines, who has been hugely impressed with the growth of One Team since it was first launched.
"I've been working with One Team more or less from the beginning and it's been amazing to see how much bigger and better the program has become," said Hines, who serves as One Team's Global Ambassador.
"Over the last few years I've attended lots of different One Team events and seen in person how much of a difference basketball can make to people's lives. We can use sport to make a real change to society, especially to people who need help the most."
One of the basic values of One Team is 'unity', and another One Team Ambassador, Furkan Aldemir from Darussafaka Istanbul, believes the fact that every competing club in the EuroLeague and EuroCup is taking part demonstrates the commitment of the sport to engaging with social issues.
"I have already seen the impact of One Team when I played in the EuroLeague, and it's great to see that message being repeated with every EuroCup club now," Aldemir said.
"As professional athletes we all have a responsibility to give back to the communities which support us, and it's great to see how all 40 clubs across two different competitions are united in working together with the same aims."
A number of former greats are also actively involved in supporting One Team, including Euroleague Basketball Legend Ramunas Siskauskas, who won the title with Panathinaikos in 2007 and with CSKA Moscow in 2008 and is now an assistant coach on the Lithuanian national team.
Siskauskas believes it's important to use the profile of basketball to tackle social issues.
"In countries like Lithuania, basketball is enormously popular and the players are heroes to many people," he said. "That gives us a lot of power to do good. We can make a difference and we should do everything we can to help people who are vulnerable for whatever reason."
This season's One Team programs now are being rolled out by all 40 teams across the continent, and we'll have regular updates on the activities undertaken by our clubs over the next few months on www.euroleague.net/one-team.