The starting whistle has blown for Special Olympics European Basketball Week 2018! Between 24 November and 2 December, almost 19,000 players will take part in 250 local and national events across 35 European countries.
Supported by, FIBA (International Basketball Federation) in Europe and Euroleague Basketball One Team, as well as NBA legend and Special Olympics Board Member, Sam Perkins, European Basketball Week 2018 (EBW2018)—now in its 15th year – involves a range of exciting basketball activities.
Playing and Growing Together
This year’s theme, Playing and Growing Together, emphasises the importance of getting young athletes involved in basketball and encouraging them to continue on the court through adolescence and into adulthood. There will be a particular focus on promoting and expanding mini-basketball for participants under 14 years old and 3x3 Unified basketball, a simple and flexible version involving six players with and without intellectual disabilities (ID).
NBA Legend, Sam Perkins, Supports EBW2018
NBA legend and Special Olympics International Board Member, Sam Perkins, has enthusiastically lent his support to EBW2018. During a Special Olympics Unified Basketball Tournament in Tallinn, Estonia on 21 November, Mr. Perkins said: “It’s an honour to Play Unified with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Special Olympics Estonia athletes in Tallinn for European Basketball Week 2018. I’m delighted to see over 19,000 athletes across Europe enthusiastically get on board with EBW this year – these players show us that when we choose the include on and off the court, everyone benefits. I’ll be following the EBW action from 35 countries across Europe in coming days. Play Unified, Live Unified!”
About European Basketball Week
Established in 2004 with the support of FIBA Europe, EBW is an annual event that sees thousands of athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities take to basketball courts all over Europe in the name of inclusion. Key activities of EBW include: Unified Basketball, 3x3 Basketball, Mini Basketball and Women’s Basketball.
Supported by almost 3,200 coaches, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Special Olympics Europe Eurasia region with more than to 58,500 registered players.
FIBA Europe and Euroleague Basketball Partner with Special Olympics for #EBW2018
The focus on ‘Playing and Growing Together’ for European Basketball Week 2018 is important not only for Special Olympics but also for the growth of basketball as a sport across Europe, and has been enthusiastically endorsed by FIBA Europe and Euroleague Basketball One Team.
Kamil Novak, FIBA Executive Director, noted, “FIBA Europe is thrilled to once again support the Special Olympics European Basketball Week. We are particularly excited by this year’s theme ‘Playing and Growing Together’ which aligns perfectly with FIBA’s ongoing commitment to drawing in younger players through mini-basketball and 3x3 basketball. Together with Special Olympics, we are transforming basketball into a truly inclusive sport where everyone is welcome on the court!”
Following European Basketball Week, the Euroleague One Team Games, which total 20 matches and involve Special Olympics athletes, will be held in December. They will take place during 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season Round 9 (11-12 December 2018.) and Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 12 (13-14 December 2018.).
Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, commented, “We are very proud to once again partner with Special Olympics to spread the message of inclusion through European Basketball Week and all our 40 teams participating in the One Team Games. This year's theme of ‘Playing and Growing Together’ emphasizes the power of inclusion from childhood to adult life, delivering a message that we fully embrace and embody at Euroleague Basketball and are eager to share through One Team.”
David Evangelista, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, added, “Now in its 15th year, Special Olympics European Basketball Week has continued to grow stronger and stronger—providing more and more opportunities for Special Olympics athletes, indeed athletes of all abilities to shine, both on and off the court. We are so grateful to our committed partners in this effort—FIBA Europe and Euroleague Basketball, who remain incredible advocates as part of our shared quest for full social inclusion for all. We are so proud to see 40 professional clubs, over 3,000 coaches and almost 19,000 enthusiastic participants across Europe bring the #EBW2018 theme of ‘Playing and Growing Together’ theme to life on the court this year!”
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International, Microsoft, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.