One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program, took center stage at the FanZone at Belgrade's iconic Kalemegdan Fortress on Friday morning with a special ambassadors session and exhibition game.
A group of 15 participants from the Partizan NIS Belgrade One Team program were joined by a host of famous names who are supporting the Final Four by serving as Euroleague Basketball Ambassadors: Joe Arlauckas, Ibrahim Kutluay, Theo Papaloukas, Dusko Savanovic, Ramunas Siskauskas, Matjaz Smodis, Kostas Tsartsaris, Mirsad Turkcan, Nikola Vujcic and Sergio Scariolo.
Together with the local youngsters, the ambassadors celebrated the fantastic positive impact that One Team is having in local communities across the continent, with all 40 clubs in this season's Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup using the power of basketball to change lives.
"I think and I hope it means a lot for these youngsters," Siskauskas said. "I think One Team is a very good social responsibility project and what it is very important that we don't do it just one time during the Final Four, but that Euroleague does it throughout the year. This is very important, and a very good idea."
Friday morning's fun event was open to the general public at the FanZone and also attended by Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu.
"It is a great event, except for us who need to lose some kilos," Savanovic joked afterwards. "It is huge for the kids, and you can see it on their faces. It is a new type of life for them, which they would never be able to experience without this type of an event. I am so excited to see it happening here. Serbia is a country of basketball and Belgrade is its capital. I am happy that the Final Four is finally here and I am the Ambassador in my own town."
After starting off with a series of One Team activities emphasizing the importance of working together as a team, the ambassadors and the One Team participants joined together for an action-packed exhibition game to entertain the crowd.
"We just enjoyed this, and you can simply see in the kids' eyes that everybody is happy to be with us," Turkcan said. "EuroLeague has done this for a lot of years and I appreciate that. It is a great organization, every year they want to improve, and every year we need to step out, like we stepped out this year in Belgrade, or last year in Istanbul."
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.