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Stars stand up for respect and inclusion

May 28, 2014

Euroleague stars and Special Olympics athletes join forces to promote respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities

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Special Olympics athletes from Italy team up with Euroleague stars and CEO of Euroleague Jordi Bertomeu at Piazzo del Duomo, Milan. Watch Euroleague TV at Piazza del Duomo

An Unforgettable Weekend

A celebration between One Team, Euroleague's corporate social responsibility program and Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organisation for athletes with intellectual disabilities, gave some of Europe’s top basketball players the chance to reflect on their role and influence as professional players as they played at the Final Four 2014 weekend in Milan.


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Kyle Hines with athletes at Piazza del Duomo

Fighting Exclusion

Euroleague stars and Special Olympics athletes became teammates for a day on a fan zone basketball court in Milan’s historic Piazza del Duomo just ahead of the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four – one of Europe’s premier basketball tournaments. The basketball stars included Kyle Hines of CSKA Moscow, Salah Mejri of Real Madrid and David Blue of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. This is what they said about the experience of playing alongside Special Olympics athletes:

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The basketball stars of Europe stand up for inclusion and respect shoulder to shoulder with Special Olympics athletes

'This means everything to me'

“This means everything to me. One Team and events like this help teach us to inspire and teaches us the sense of impact we can have as athletes, as sportsmen, inside these communities.” – Kyle Hines, CSKA Moscow.

“This is probably the most important part of our job. It really gives me a lot of pleasure to work with other athletes from around the world. Basketball brings communities together. It’s for everybody. Everyone is together and sharing in one common goal. I was happy to be involved,” David Blu Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

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Special Olympics courtside branding at Final Four match between FC Barcelona and CSKA Moscow

'It's emotional for me'

“There may be no big trophy to win here but events like this are a great opportunity to learn more about the experience of life. It’s quite emotional for me. It doesn’t matter if we don’t speak the same language because there is no language in basketball. I’d like to see more of these opportunities happening in my home territory of North Africa,” - Salah Mejiri, Real Madrid.

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May 16th coaching clinic with Special Olympics athletes and ONE Team Euroleague players and coaches at Mediolanum Forum

Proud Partners

Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv went on to be beat Real Madrid 98-86 at the final to win its sixth European championship.

Special Olympics and Euroleague are proud partners since 2009 and ONE Team partners since 2012. The image to the left shows a coaching session with Special Olympics athletes and top Euroleague players and coaches at the Mediolanum Forum.



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Special Olympics Blog

The Start of the Solution

Young people from around the globe with and without intellectual disabilities are coming together at the SOGenUin Summit as part of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games with one goal - to change the world.


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Posted on 2015-07-23 by Natalie

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