LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne has completed a highly successful eight-week program with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility initiative.
ASVEL ran the program along with Special Olympics France and the club’s social partner Vhasi, an association composed of adults with a mental handicap who take part in sports and cultural activities.
The French club invited 10 men and 11 women with intellectual disabilities to join the weekly sessions with the common goal of learning and sharing, together with the help of six One Team coaches, who use basketball as a tool to teach life skills.
The team’s senior players took an active role in supporting the program, spending time with the participants and also gifting each of them a pair of basketball shoes to wear at their practice sessions.
Veteran forward Charles Kahudi said he was happy to help, commenting: “We have the opportunity to support other people by helping them with little stuff, showing them around, and helping them on the court. The opportunity to give them shoes is the minimum we can do.”
One of the coaches leading the program was Pierre Bressant, a sports instructor for ASVEL, who outlined basketball’s power to transform lives as he said: “I’m happy to be with these adults, because of the smiles, joy and energy that they bring.
“They come to practice thinking of all the things they can’t do, because of all the years they’ve been told they can’t do this or that. So I tell them they can, and they try and try, and then they do and they get the smile, and that’s the most important part. We’re coming here to play basketball, but we’re coming here to have fun and give 100%. Just give me your all, give me your maximum. If I get 100% of you, whatever it is, that’s the best 100% I can get.”
And Frederick Serrano from Special Olympics France hailed the success of the program as he concluded: “It’s an incredible chance for our players and we clearly see tremendous progress. It’s really a great adventure.”
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 16,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.