Spanoulis. Navarro. Diamantidis. Smith. Fernandez. Hines. Ajinca. Mirotic.
Theirs are among the most-recognized names in basketball.
But you won't see any of those names on court next Thursday or Friday in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.
In the place where their names should be, the jerseys of all Turkish Airlines Euroleague players this week will read the same - One Team - to show their solidarity with Euroleague Basketball's corporate social responsibility programme and the many needy communities it serves across Europe.
Rounds 6 and 7 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season will be dedicated to One Team's support of long-time strategic partner Special Olympics and its global leadership role in using sport to promote social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.
Between November 21 and 29, in addition to the call to action by Euroleague players, arenas across Europe will welcome male and female Special Olympics athletes to center court, where One Team Ambassadors or team captains will read messages before each tipoff to increase awareness of the fight against exclusion that's at the heart of both One Team and Special Olympics.
“When we talk about community, We Are One Team. Two-time Euroleague champion Kyle Hines of CSKA Moscow, a One Team Global Ambassador, said. We fight for one trophy, but no matter the colours on our uniforms we get together for our communities.”
Since 2009, Euroleague Basketball has been working to support the efforts of Special Olympics to change lives through the power of sport by empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. That collaboration was strengthened a year ago when Special Olympics became a Proud Partner of One Team, the programme through which 17 Euroleague Basketball clubs are reaching into their local communities to make a positive impact on social issues such as substance abuse, gender inequality, physical or intellectual disability and economic disadvantage.
"It goes without saying how proud Euroleague Basketball is to have a partner like Special Olympics that shares our goals and aspirations for One Team, namely to promote respect, acceptance and inclusion for excluded groups in our society," Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, said. "Our relationship with Special Olympics has grown into a year-round collaboration, but these 24 games over two weeks are key to making our fans and international audience aware of these shared values and projects to help make a positive impact in local communities. I especially want to thank our teams and players, who once again are showing their strength and solidarity toward their communities by following this initiative of giving their names to One Team."
The two-week dedication of Turkish Airlines Euroleague games to the cause of inclusion will lead up to the celebration of the 10th annual Special Olympics European Basketball Week, which starts on November 30, and the International Day of People with Disability on December 3.
"Basketball Week is possible through the generosity and vision of Euroleague Basketball. It is a hugely important week in the Special Olympics calendar, with basketball being one of the most popular sports among our athletes at 58,000 players and growing," Mary Davis, MD Special Olympics of Europe/Eurasia, said. "Because of its mass appeal, basketball brings those with and without intellectual disabilities together, breaking down barriers, changing attitudes and opening minds to the gifts and talents of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe. Basketball has the power to change lives. Our goal is to reach 60,000 players by 2013 so that more players, families, coaches and spectators can enjoy the wonderful game of basketball and experience the benefits that this magnetic game brings."