Joining a new team comes hand in hand with new experiences. Johannes Thiemann made that discovery with ALBA Berlin this summer, when he signed with the German 7DAYS EuroCup challenger and was promptly selected to be the club’s One Team Ambassador.
Earlier this month Thiemann had his first official appearance in his role as Ambassador for One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program, when he made a special visit to ALBA’s partner-school, the Gesundbrunnen-Grundschule in the underprivileged Berlin-Wedding neighborhood.
During his visit, the 24 year-old big man not only played basketball with the kids and shared with them a few tips and tricks, he also patiently answered the many questions asked by the students, posed for pictures and gave plenty of autographs.
While the kids most definitely enjoyed the company of the ALBA big man, Thiemann himself also had a good time, stating afterwards: "It was a lot of fun to practice with the kids. They were very enthusiastic, which was great to see."
He was also impressed by his first close-up experience of One Team, adding: "Basketball can really connect people. When you play it doesn’t matter where you are from, what color your skin is or which religious beliefs you have – you just play together. Even if you don’t aspire to be a pro, sports can give you a real passion and something to do for a few hours a day."
That is precisely what the One Team initiative aims to achieve. Together with strategic partners and clubs like ALBA, Euroleague Basketball wants to utilize basketball in an impactful way, in order to work towards better community integration.
This goal was perfectly visible during Thiemann’s visit to the Gesundbrunnen-Grundschule, a school located in an area where many of the families have a migrant background and which is therefore a home to students with cultural roots and backgrounds from a number of different countries.
Together with ALBA and One Team, the school uses basketball as a tool to bring those kids together, creating a feeling of mutual affiliation and teaching them the importance of working as a team. The first results of this effort showed during the visit of Thiemann, when the kids ran through passing and ball handling drills together.
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 real social impact in our communities.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has reached already directly and indirectly 16,000 participants through its various team projects.