Partizan Belgrade has wrapped up its latest program with One Team – Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program – and is now eagerly anticipating the fast approaching Final Four in the city.
On Friday, the club held its final activity with the city’s Center for Protection of Infants, Children and Youth – ‘Zvecanska’ – in its Trophy Hall, inviting the young participants to enjoy the real life fairy tale of the club’s remarkable season in 1992, when Partizan became European champion against all odds.
One player from that legendary team, Mladjan Silobad, is today the club’s Executive Director and he attended Friday’s session to share his memories of this unprecedented story, demonstrating the magic of basketball, the value of teamwork and the power of big dreams despite seemingly impossible circumstances.
Children from three foster cares homes within the Zvecanska institution were invited to hear the legendary story about a young team which played almost all their games away from home, during the wartime in former Yugoslavia.
Silobad explained how the team overcame those tough circumstances by respecting each other, allowing rookie coach Zeljko Obradovic to lead the team with help of ‘professor’ Aleksandar Nikolic and the fast development of young guns Sasha Djordjevic, Sasha Danilovic, Nikola Loncar, Zeljko Rebraca, Zoran Stevanovic and others.
This was the final session of a program which has been running for eight weeks, allowing Partizan to use the power of basketball to inspire the kids from the foster homes, encouraging them to believe in a bright future despite tough situations and to appreciate the value of hard work.
In addition to former champion Silobad, the club’s current vice-captain and One Team Ambassador Mihajlo Andric, One Team Coach Dragoljub Avramovic and One Team Manager Ivan Ivkovic were also present to celebrate the achievements of the past few weeks.
The black and white One Team participants are now ready and excited for the Final Four, which will see a range of activities taking place throughout the city over the course of the weekend.
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 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-focussed projects.