The first step of Fiat Turin's involvement with One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, is officially underway!
The Italian club last week launched a new partnership with children's organization Marco Berry Onlus and its Iron Mind project, which has been created to help kids with disabilities take part in sport.
Fiat Turin's work with Iron Mind started last Tuesday at the PalaRuffini Arena, when Alessandro – a 10-year old boy in a wheelchair – was invited to visit his favorite basketball team during practice and watch from courtside.
When the practice was over, Alessandro had the chance to meet all the players and coaches and told them his story, explaining that he first tried basketball at an Iron Mind event and now can't stop dribbling and shooting whenever he gets the chance.
Alessandro even had a shooting competition against Trevor Mbakwe, the club's One Team Ambassador, and took lots of pictures with the players before saying goodbye to his new friends with a big smile on his face.
However, Alessandro did not know that a special surprise had been arranged for him to return to the PalaRuffini Arena the following day, as the special guest for the team's 7DAYS EuroCup game against Zenit St Petersburg.
Alessandro had a great time at the game, especially during the half-time interval, when he was invited to come onto the court and Mbakwe presented him with a special gift: the club's scarf, signed by all the players.
Renato Nicolai, the club's general manager, said: "These two days were very special for both Alessandro and the club. This was just the first step of a partnership which will organize many other events with the kids of Iron Mind.
"For example, we are planning a friendly game with the basketball wheelchair team of Turin, and we are creating a page in the club's website where people with disabilities can find information about where they can play sports, helping us support the messages of inclusion and universal sports values which are the same for everybody."
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 and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.