Several stars of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four have taken time out from their on-court exertions to support One Team, making a special appearance at the FanZone on Saturday morning.
CSKA Moscow center Kyle Hines – who is also One Team's Global Ambassador – and his teammate Nikita Kurbanov, Real Madrid captain Felipe Reyes, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul's Sinan Guler and Sertac Sanli of Anadolu Efes Istanbul all joined a group of children from the KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz One Team program, taking part in a fast-paced and fun session on the main court of the FanZone.
Real Madrid captain Reyes, the competition's all-time rebounding leader, underlined the vital role of players in supporting the One Team program.
"As professional players we are in a privileged position and we have the opportunity to transmit the values of basketball and team sport to young kids," he said. "Lots of kids see players as role models and we can give them our experience. We're not teachers or parents who are the most important, but we can try to play our part.
"In basketball it's very important to share, work in a team and be humble. Basketball players need to support their teammates if they want to achieve anything – the teams who work harder and have better teamwork will be more successful, and the exercises we did in the session today with the One Team kids from Baskonia promoted those values."
The event was run by official One Team coaches, and among those witnessing the fun were Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, who was joined by special guests Josean Querejeta, President of Saski Baskonia; Gorka Urtaran and Nerea Melgosa, representing the City of Vitoria-Gasteiz; Ramiro Gonzalez and Pilar Garcia de Salazar, representing the Diputación de Alava; and Beatriz Artolazabal representing the Basque Country government.
Efes big man Sanli was happy that Saturday's event took place in front of fans and the media, explaining: "With all the children here it's a really great atmosphere, so everybody can see what we're doing and the importance of One Team, and that's a good thing. Playing with children is very important, it's great to see the happiness on their faces when they are on the court, and with this public session everyone can see that and understand why One Team is so successful."
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.
The 5+11 Foundation, Baskonia's social partner, is a non-profit entity which works with the Vitoria-Gasteiz community to promote healthy lifestyle habits and values such as sportsmanship and teamwork, engaging with more than 40,000 children per year.
The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague FanZone is located in the heart of the city at three central squares: Plaza Espana (Plaza Nueva), Plaza de la Virgen Blanca and Plaza de los Fueros. It is open to all visitors from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout Final Four weekend, and is filled with games, shows, contests and activities sponsored by Euroleague Basketball partners Turkish Airlines, 7DAYS, adidas, Bwin, Eneos, Endesa, AXA, Oscar Mayer, Volvo and StubHub.