A commitment to helping at-risk and marginalized groups across Europe was at the heart of the first event of the EB Institute Annual Workshops on Monday as Turkish Airlines EuroLeague players participated in a One Team session to both teach and learn more about Euroleague Basketball's banner corporate social responsibility program.
A total of 18 EuroLeague stars took time out from the summer holidays to join in the session to tip-off their day-long EuroLeague ELPA Player Representatives Meeting with executives of Euroleague Basketball. The session was led by long-time One Team supporter Joe Arlauckas, a Euroleague Basketball Ambassador, Euroleague.TV game commentator and the host of The Crossover podcast.
"It's all about giving back to the community," Arlauckas told the players. "So many people, so many kids have to deal with social exclusion, and that's where we are trying to help out. Just the fact that you show up to a One Team event is so important to a child or a person who feels excluded from a community. And we have the ability here to get the word out, and to continue to grow, and that's the most important thing."
The players in attendance were: Tibor Pleiss (Anadolu Efes Istanbul), Andrea Cinciarini (AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan), Nemanja Nenadic (Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade), Kyle Hines (CSKA Moscow), Victor Claver (FC Barcelona Lassa), Nihad Dedovic (FC Bayern Munich), Tarik Biberovic (Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul), Janis Timma (Khimki Moscow Region), Tornike Shengelia (KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz), Charles Kahudi (LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne), Jake Cohen (Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv), Dimitris Agravanis (Olympiacos Piraeus), Georgios Papagiannis (Panathinaikos OPAP Athens), Facundo Campazzo (Real Madrid), Fernando San Emeterio (Valencia Basket), Paulius Jankunas (Zalgiris Kaunas), Vladislav Trushkin (Zenit St Petersburg).
One Team just completed its eighth season with all 40 clubs of the EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup hosting a broad range of ambitious projects to help marginalized groups find better integration in their local communities.
A major feature of One Team's success has been the participation of EuroLeague and EuroCup stars in the important work of making the less fortunate find acceptance in society.
The objective of the One Team session was to use the knowledge of several players with experience as One Team Ambassadors to teach the newcomers to the program about its far-reaching favorable effects.
"I've been doing this for quite some time, so it's definitely a big honor to try to encourage these guys and try to get these guys to take these tools that we learned today back to their individual teams and hopefully spread them throughout communities where their teams are," CSKA Moscow player Kyle Hines, who is the One Team Global Ambassador, said. "The active players definitely make the difference. It's important that we participate, it's important that we share on social media. It's on us to continue to spread the message and continue to help grow One Team as a whole."
One of the drills in which the players participated was designed for them to learn about the personal stories of some of the thousands of One Team participants who benefit from its methodology of bringing impactful, positive change to their lives through the power of basketball.
"I did One Team previously with kids…and you want to give back the positive energy that they give to you through affection," Facundo Campazzo of Real Madrid said. "It moved me and helps you see things in a different way. You want to be a part of One Team to help people."
The session continued with a discussion of the skills that help One Team Ambassadors make the most of the experience, for them and the participants. Finally, the players were educated on the many ways that they can spread the One Team message of solidarity with less fortunate groups of people through their own interactions with fans and journalists, as well as their personal social media channels.
"The energy was really positive today," Martin Hermannsson of ALBA Berlin said. "I can tell that everybody really wants to give back. Everybody had a really open mind, really positive. Because we know how it is to be a young kid, dreaming of playing at the highest stage in Europe. We had our roles models and we want to become one ourselves."
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.