Panathinaikos and Special Olympics changing lives in Athens

Apr 23, 2019 by Euroleague.net Print

Basketball has the power to share lifelong lessons and positively impact lives. To achieve that aim, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, as one of the most successful and illustrious basketball clubs in Europe, is standing by Euroleague Basketball’s One Team program for the fifth consecutive year.

The Greek giant’s One Team activities are building upon an already fruitful collaboration with Special Olympics Hellas, and last Tuesday the team’s experienced guard Vaggelis Sakellariou practiced along with Special Olympics basketball athletes to share the values and secrets of his sport.

Sakellariou actively engaged with the enthusiastic athletes throughout the session, and later said: “I was not exactly certain what to expect, but engaging and communicating with the Special Olympics athletes was highly motivating for me in order to join and experience the session along with them.

“I am so grateful for the warm welcome they gave me. I witnessed their great thirst for basketball, and the athletes made an amazing effort to show their passion and commitment. They consider us professional players as their role models, striving to become pros one day.

“Today’s session was about communication, and specifically body language. The training became tougher with every activity, but they did exceptionally well. I am thrilled because I saw the athletes’ potential and their drive to learn about basketball, and I had a lot of fun as well.”

Panathinaikos’s One Team coach Artemis Panagi added: “It is a great pleasure and honor to be part of this program one more season. They are amazing athletes and above all astounding personalities. The sessions has objectives not only related to basketball skills. Basketball can help engrave virtues like respect, discipline, teamwork and self-esteem, assisting the athletes in their daily realities.”

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.