One of the highlights of the Euroleague Basketball Asia Tour took place on Wednesday at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, where stars from FC Barcelona hosted a One Team session for underprivileged children from Hangzhou Charity School.
A day after Barcelona won its first game on the week-long Asia Tour by 83-94 over Zhejiang Lions, the club's One Team Ambassador, Alex Abrines, plus his teammates Bostjan Nachbar and Mario Hezonja and head coach Xavi Pascual, joined together in teaching and promoting the values of Euroleague Basketball's CSR program.
During an animated one-hour session together, 40 children ages 10 to 12 from Hangzhou Charity School became teammates of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague stars from thousands of kilometers away, sharing joy, smiles, cheers and important lessons on a basketball court.
"It was a great experience to be here in China with these kids," Joan Blade, Basketball Section Director of FC Barcelona, said. "I think they really enjoyed the experience of having our players playing with them and of learning from them, as well, in a way they like, playing basketball. Sports has very powerful values for these kids to learn, and this is the core of One Team."
One Team is the Euroleague Basketball’s corporate social responsibility program that uses basketball to achieve a real social impact in our communities and among the excluded groups. It is designed to use the power of basketball to integrate communities, teach life and social skills, and help its participants with their day-to-day personal issues.
This event marked One Team's return to China one year after another session at Hong Shan Primary School near Beijing, where children ages 9 to 11 spent a morning on the playground learning the same values with stars from another Spanish powerhouse, Real Madrid. Both sessions were made possible with the cooperation from Euroleague Basketball partner Oceans Marketing.
"It was great for the kids to have FC Barcelona players and the coach here," Xiaodong Zhu, Founder and President of Oceans Marketing, said. "This session was very helpful for them to learn key values they can use in their life. For example, in China many families have only one kid, so teamwork as a value, as they learned today, is something that is very important for them, to trust others and to ask for help to overcome difficulties in an easier way."
During the session, which was conducted by Alex Ferrer, Communications and Brand Director of Euroleague Basketball, who had been trained as a One Team coach, the children took part in basketball drills that improve non-verbal communication and motivation, and finished with a presentation on the kinds of positive messages that boost self-esteem. At the end of the session, the participants had a chance to ask the players questions, take photos with them and get autographs.
"This programme is a great way to bring players closer to the kids," Abrines said after the event. "And not only to greet them, but also to work with them and teach them some of the values that we use every day as professional sportsmen, so that they can apply them to their day-to-day challenges."