One Team will take center stage this week as clubs across Europe host special events to celebrate Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, which is improving the lives of thousands of vulnerable people all over the continent.
The annual One Team Games will involve all 42 clubs during Round 13 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season and Round 9 of the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season in a series of on-court activities giving fans a greater understanding of the important work carried out in local communities.
Roser Queralto, Euroleague Basketball Chief Business Officer, said: "One Team is a central part of Euroleague Basketball's day-to-day work and we are delighted to see the program continuing to grow, with 42 clubs all over Europe now carrying out activities in their local communities. This week of action is a great way to shine a light on the fantastic community work carried out all season long by our clubs in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the 7DAYS EuroCup, and I am sure the events at this week's games will create some special memories all over the continent."
Participants in local One Team programs will be invited onto the court to join the official presentation of the starting fives and referees before every game in both competitions. A ceremonial tip-off will then take place, giving a lucky One Team participant the chance to replace the referee throwing the first jump ball of the night and a unique insight into the gameday experience of players and coaches by taking a seat on the home team bench.
The action will return to the court at half-time, with every home club inviting a group of One Team participants to stage a five-minute session to entertain the fans and showcase the methodology of the program. The participants will then be joined by the home club's One Team Ambassadors for a "family photo" to commemorate the occasion.
Euroleague Basketball Legend Theo Papaloukas urged fans to show their appreciation for the activities taking place this week, saying: "Support the One Team program whenever you get the chance, because you have no idea how much happiness and excitement you can give! At the end of the day, basketball is a way for people to become better and happier, so please give a big ovation to everybody who is part of this great program during the One Team Games!"
The role of One Team will be visible throughout the night, with all players and referees wearing specially-designed blue turquoise shoelaces bearing the hashtag which sums up the program's message of inclusivity: #WeAreAllOneTeam
One Team is supported throughout the season by players who serve as ambassadors for their club's activities, including veteran guard Sinan Guler of Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul. He said: "As basketball players, throughout the season we tend to focus on day-to-day stuff like practices, game days, getting better on the court and so on. But weeks like this are special. It's a good opportunity for us to be with the kids of Darussafaka Schools and give back to the community that supports us so well. I'm excited to be part of the One Team Games with my Dacka family. Hopefully, we can enjoy and grow this great cause."
The longest-serving supporter of One Team among active players is CSKA Moscow's four-time EuroLeague champion Kyle Hines, who has been the program´s Global Ambassador since 2013.
"The One Team project is having a lasting impact in many communities throughout Europe," he said. "One Team is special to me because I have watched it grow since the beginning. I have personally seen first-hand how all the participants enjoy the activities and how the events allow everyone to learn. One Team is a prime example of how we can use sport to help change people's lives. It's great to see all the EuroLeague and EuroCup clubs come together and show the world that no matter what team we play for or our backgrounds, we are all ONE TEAM!"
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 19,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.