Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz carries out its One Team program along with the Gizarterako Association, a local organisation focused on social integration with a strong street presence.
One of the participants is Destiny, a boy whose social worker Nuria Zapatero recalls: “Destiny caught my attention from the very first day, four years ago. He was a child with a sad, distrustful look. He looked at you with fear and a little bit of resentment, but behind those eyes there was a child crying, screaming, asking for help and affection.
“His emotions of fear, anger and mistrust led him to aggressive and angry behaviour. I got in touch with his social educator and we shared information in order to be able to help.”
Part of the process of helping Destiny find a better life was including him in Baskonia’s One Team program, which encouraged him to develop positive habits and attitudes by using lessons from basketball. And although the process was not immediate, as time passed Destiny was able to really change his life for the better.
“The sessions with his educator and his mother, along with the work and play with his One Team coach Ana Mari and his teammates, mean that after four years Destiny gained confidence,” said Zapatero. “He now has the security to have the calm look of a child who has fun playing basketball with his friends.”
One Team Coach Ana Maria Garcia added: “At first, Destiny showed aggressive behaviour due to his strong character. He had conflicts with his teammates, he had a lot of anger and frustration if things didn't go his way. He didn't accept the rules, everything was a call for attention. But now he has radically changed his behaviour. He doesn't miss any session, he is punctual, he brings the right equipment, he doesn't get angry when he is corrected and he is very participative and respectful with his teammates and coach.”
The club’s One Team Manager Iker Gonzalez de Garibay believe Destiny’s development is a great example of taking a long-term approach with children and understanding that changes won’t always happen overnight. “From my point of view, stories like this show the importance of consolidating the social project and giving it continuity over time,” he said. "As the poet Maya Angelou said: ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ All of our One Team staff are very aware of this and Destiny has become an important pillar of our team because of his charisma.”
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.