A true expression of the One Team spirit is being delivered in Montenegro, where rival clubs Buducnost VOLI Podgorica and Mornar Bar have created the first-ever One Team program co-organized by two teams from the 7DAYS EuroCup.
The two clubs are working together alongside Special Olympics Montenegro to give youngsters with intellectual disabilities access to online classes led by One Team coaches from both clubss. The classes are supported by Special Olympics volunteers, who are helping to organize and implement the sessions in an online format during the current pandemic.
Around 50 boys and girls, aged 10 to 25, are taking part in this eight-week program, which started last month. The sessions are using the power of basketball to help the youngsters to feel accepted in society, with the help of sponsor companies VOLI and Baskethand.
Ivan Radovic, Director of Special Olympics Montenegro, explained that he is grateful for the support of the clubs: "We are happy that we are continuing our cooperation with the biggest basketball clubs in the country. After a couple of years working on common projects with Buducnost VOLI and Mornar Bar separately, this year we came to the wonderful idea of following the slogan 'We Are All One Team'!
"This year's worldwide pandemic has brought us to a moment of special problems where the two biggest Montenegrin clubs join forces for a greater goal. For us at Special Olympics Montenegro, it shows a new way of working together with your on-court opponent, and sends a strong message which is spreading widely all over the country and the region.
"Special Olympics Montenegro is very happy and proud that we can be part of such a project. We are determined to continue our cooperation for many years from now, and hope that the impact we can make on our society will be immense."
Both clubs are also supporting the program with their respective One Team Ambassadors: Buducnost guard Petar Popovic and Mornar swingman Sead Sehovic are motivating the participants by creating promotional videos and sending special messages.
Popovic said: "As clubs we want to beat each other, but basketball is bigger than our rivalry and it is great that Buducnost and Mornar can work together to help a group of vulnerable people in our society during a very difficult few months."
Sehovic added: "One Team is all about using basketball as a unifying force, and this project between our clubs with Special Olympics Montenegro is a great example."
Special Olympics is currently in the middle of its annual European Basketball Week, a celebration of the power of sport to unify and break down barriers. For this year's event between November 28 and December 6, it is anticipated that 7,000 players with and without intellectual disabilities in 15 countries will come together for more than 100 local, regional, national and virtual basketball events.
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 22,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.