One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, has played a pivotal part during the continent's leading youth basketball competitions that have been taking place throughout the season.
The Adidas Next Generation Tournament qualifiers have been staged in Valencia, Munich, Kaunas and Belgrade, giving Europe's best under-18 players the opportunity to advance into the finals which will be held at May's Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Cologne, Germany.
And the great work carried out by clubs in their local communities has been celebrated during these festivals of youth basketball, with participants from One Team programs invited to entertain the fans by taking to the court and showing their skills. For instance, Zalgiris Kaunas invited its U18 team to practice together with OT participants, while at the ANGT Munich, OT participants took part in the teams presentation for the first-place game.
The most recent ANGT qualifier was staged last month in Belgrade, where local club Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade has a partnership with Special Olympics Serbia. Among the participants was Isidora Zivkovic, who gave us an interview to explain why she loves One Team so much:
Hello Isidora, thanks for talking to us. Can you tell us something about your experiences with Special Olympics Serbia?
"Hello, thank you for inviting me. I've been with Special Olympics Serbia since 2010. I've been to two Special Olympics World Summer Games, in Athens 2011 and Abu Dhabi 2019. Last time, in Abu Dhabi, my team and I won the gold medal, and that was one of the best experiences of my life."
Congrats! Obviously, you're a good basketball player and you have great basketball team. You were also part of the ANGT qualifier in Belgrade. Can you explain what you did there?
"Thank you! I love my team and my coaches, they are always there to help us. I can say the same thing about our ANGT experiences. We prepared with our coaches a few weeks before we stepped onto the court. I already had similar experiences during the One Team Games celebration we had together with Crvena Zvezda. It was fantastic. We had training on the same court as professional players. That's very important for me. Also, we had a nice workshop and that was amazing!"
What was memorable for you from the ANGT?
"Definitely that we had the opportunity to be part of this great event, training to show our basketball skills. It was great and I think we did well."
You said these ANGT experiences are very important for you. Why?
"For me, as an athlete of Special Olympics Serbia, support is always important. This event supported us because it gave us the opportunity to train on the main court. To me, that is the biggest support I can receive. So this is important for me and my team. And I want to say big THANK YOU to Crvena Zvezda, to Euroleague Basketball, and to all the supporters who came along."
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.