The power possessed by One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, to effect real social change and improve lives has now found maybe its best example yet: Godson Ogun.
Seven years ago, Godson was one of the first children to take part in the new One Team program run by KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz.
He was six years old at the time, and his first year as a One Team participant at the Aldabe Sports Centre was tough. He was an emotional child who became angry and anxious very easily, without understanding what those feelings were.
Joining the new One Team program, with new rules and new people, was challenging. But gradually, through different methods such as communication, listening, affection, creativity and humor, club social worker Nuria Zapatero gained Godson's trust and tried to show him that he wasn't going to be judged by anyone at One Team: people would always listen to him, and his opinions and feelings were important.
That created a space where Godson felt comfortable to show his emotions, allowing him to know himself much better. After three years, he was able to join a regular basketball team, and two years later – always with the support and supervision of Nuria – he was selected to join Baskonia's youth academy.
Godson has continued to progress since then, and this summer he spent a week at the Baskonia International Camp, where he made friends from all over the world and learned a lot more about basketball. He is now spending the new season as a full member of the Baskonia youth academy, completing his journey from One Team to top-level youth basketball.
Godson's mother, Philomena Ehiaghe, says: "This opportunity has been really positive not only for him, but also for my family. Godson is a good example for his little sister who has started this year in another Baskonia program."
Dorleta de la Presa, who was Godson's coach during his first years in One Team, recalls: "He was a very nervous child, but with a good attitude. It's true that in many times he got distracted, or he was angry because he lost. However, little by little he understood the rules and solved the problems that appeared on the court. The change that Godson has gone through is amazing; he has matured as a person and as an athlete. I'm very proud of his daily work and to see how far he's come."
Nuria, the social worker who spent so much time with Godson during the early years of his development with One Team, adds: "Godson not only has improved his self-esteem, but also his willingness to accept responsibility. He has also learned to respect the rules, understand the limits and the most important thing: recognizing, validating and directing his emotions through basketball."
Overall, he is a shining example of One Team's mission to change lives through basketball, and we wish Godson much more success in the future!
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.