Milan takes home gold at the 2023 One Team Awards
Milan takes home gold at the 2023 One Team Awards
The seventh edition of the One Team Awards in Barcelona, Spain, has seen EA7 Emporio Armani Milan and a handful of other clubs rewarded for their terrific work with One Team. As a result of its work during the 2022-23 season, Milan secured the One Team Gold Program prize. Elsewhere, Olympiacos Piraeus was selected as the recipient of the One Team Silver Program, while FC Barcelona secured the One Team Bronze Program award.
The other prizes on offer include the Judges’ Award for Club Commitment and the Judges’ Award for Perseverance, which went to Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse and Dolomiti Energia Trento, respectively. The One Team Ambassador Award was awarded to former Olympiacos forward Sasha Vezenkov.
One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program, is now in its 11th year and has been able to count on the support of Turkish Airlines since its inception, in addition to enjoying a long-term partnership with Special Olympics.
Through their One Team programs, all 38 clubs across Europe’s two most prestigious basketball club competitions have used the power of basketball to make a difference in their local communities.
Last season, many of the teams in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the BKT EuroCup took their One Team programs to another level, with the clubs all striving to do better year on year.
Thank you all for doing this hard work, I know it requires a lot of energy, said Paulius Motiejunas, Euroleague Basketball CEO. The challenges are becoming bigger, but you are handling them with greater energy and commitment, so thank you all for doing this hard job. No matter who wins, congratulations to everyone that has been awarded but also to those who were not nominated; I know your impact is enormous on each country that you represent, each city that you represent and each project that you do. For us, it’s an amazing honor to see you doing this.
Milan’s One Team Gold Program triumph
Milan opted to once again partner with Laureus Sport for Good Italia, but new allies were involved in the club’s One Team program, too. The Italian side put on awareness sessions to more than 100 participants in a school, while it also put on different events such as One Team Day, auctions and parallel activities relating to its work with One Team. These sessions brought together at-risk youth -- children suffering from social, cultural and economic distress, as well as those that may step outside of the law -- as Milan sought to promote community cohesion through its program.
What’s more, Milan’s One Team ambassadors from last year -- Kyle Hines and Gigi Datome -- were a regular presence at the sessions put on by the club. The numerous program’s appearances on important Italian media outlets showed also the good way in which the club used its communication channels to good effect.
Finally we got [the One Team Gold Program award] after a five-year wait; having gone from third place to second place, now we’ve got it, stated Michele Samaden, Milan’s One Team manager. We are very proud of it. We want to thank our community partner, Laureus, and our commercial partner, Scalo Milano, for supporting us throughout the season. I also want to thank the wonderful One Team organization that helps us every time that we need assistance.
Olympiacos grabs the One Team Silver Program award
Olympiacos, the recipient of the One Team Gold Program prize in 2021-22 and 2022-23, had great involvement from its ambassadors -- Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou -- during last season. Working with 1st Special Elementary School of Agios Dimitrios, which works with children with intellectual disabilities from the region of Athens, the Reds had 39 participants take part in the sessions, of which 25 were new. This was the first time playing basketball for 43% of the group.
The support of its sponsor, as well as different partners, allowed Olympiacos to make its One Team sessions as good as possible. Different events were celebrated as well, such as Earth Day and the 10th anniversary of One Team, while volunteers also had their part to play in the One Team project by offering support and making videos.
We are so lucky that, as part of our jobs, we can give people and children the opportunity to smile and shine, noted Olympiacos’s One Team manager, Penelope Giovanovits. As part of the One Team program, coaches and volunteers from every club come together to cooperate for something great. This [One Team Silver Program award] is a great achievement and it gives us lots of satisfaction.
FC Barcelona wins the One Team Bronze Program trophy
Through a long-running program between October and June, Barcelona achieved good results during its partnership with the General Directorate of the Juvenile Penitentiary Center (CPJ). There was good engagement throughout from the inmates, who were able to build on the things they had learned in previous sessions and work on values that can help them on their future reintegration into society.
Barca organized a well-structured program that included clear objectives and detailed session plans, making it easier for the participants to understand exactly what they would be doing or learning about.
This is an award that comes as a result of the hard work that we have been doing throughout the whole season, commented Alex Canals, Barcelona’s One Team manager. It’s been very challenging to make the activities as successful as possible, but in the end we got there. We look back on last season’s One Team program with a lot of pride.
Sasha Vezenkov: winner of the One Team Ambassador award
Vezenkov helped guide Olympiacos to the EuroLeague Championship Game in the 2022-23 season, which helped him secure the EuroLeague MVP trophy in the process, but off the court, together with Kostas Papanikolaou, he brought big smiles to the participants of the Reds’ One Team program. His great involvement in the sessions, in which he showed interest and curiosity regarding the kids’ problems, together with his enthusiasm and energy in all the activities he was involved in made a big impact on the positive evolution of the participants during the whole year.
The 28-year-old did his all to help where possible, too, such as asking what he can do to aid Olympiacos’s One Team efforts with getting donations at Christmas. What’s more, he went out of his way to explain the One Team program to his teammates and played a role in arranging for them to visit sessions.
Bourg lands the Judges’ Award for Club Commitment
One of the keys to Bourg’s One Team sessions during last season was the way in which it emphasized the participants’ need for independence. Several partners got involved with the program in order to aid the efforts of Bourg, which also had three players from the under-21 side take part in coaching drills for those involved. Throughout various sessions, the impressive management and enthusiastic commitment from Bourg ensured that the program was able to achieve its goals.
The Judges’ Award for Perseverance goes to Trento
Trento put together an innovative and challenging One Team program in 2022-23, which involved the club working with inmates aged between 26 and 35. In challenging circumstances, One Team ambassadors Mattia Udom and Toto Forray showed a good level of involvement during the sessions.
There were clear, strong objectives that were set for the participants, which had good links to day-to-day life skills. There were some challenges for those running Trento’s One Team program, such as a challenging set of participants and a complicated situation with the social partner as it was a prison, but they persevered and were able to overcome some tricky obstacles.