The players from the eight teams at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals learned some critical lessons about life off the court as part of the ANGT Educational Session, which focused on the jump from junior to senior player, dealing with social media and environmental sustainability.
Players learn important off-court lessons at ANGT Educational Session
Current Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade star Nikola Kalinic, EuroLeague Players Association managing director and former star Boki Nachbar, former EuroLeague champion Patrick Femerling and current NBA center Ivica Zubac were on hand to give tips about their experience to the youngsters.
Kalinic and Nachbar addressed the challenges of becoming a professional player.
"It's very hard at that age. I remember at that age, I didn't listen to anybody. I thought I was the smartest and I'm the best. It's normal when you are younger," said Kalinic. "For them, maybe it was boring to listen to some older guys. Let's get it over with and go to the hotel. I think it could help them to listen to the lessons from Boki Nachbar and myself. The faster they learn that they can ask older people for help and learn from them, the faster they're going to become the best version of themselves – basketball-wise and as persons."
The topics Kalinic and Nachbar talked about included listening to important lessons older teammates could give them, what to consider when looking for an agent, how to deal with contracts and getting good-minded people around you.
"This (Educational Session) should be implemented even more. Even more seminars or group meetings," Kalinic said. "These young guys are in for a ride. It's gonna be crazy. It's gonna be a lot of people, a lot of agents, a lot of successes, journalists, girls, everything. They're in for a great ride but they also have to be careful. I think if they talk to older teammates or other older people, they can learn more and go more safely and calmly through all that."
The players were also told about some of the dos and don'ts in the social media world, especially with the message that they themselves create their social media presence and should control the narrative. The third pillar of the Educational Session was sustainability and what players can do to help save the planet.
adidas organized the event with executives from both adidas and Euroleague joining forces to prepare the presentations. adidas introduced its sustainable products to the players and also presented activations such as the Run for the Oceans program and how the players can figure out their carbon foot print. The players were also given a gift bag including sustainable products. And the evening concluded with an informal barbecue.
When asked what were the biggest lessons he learned from the session, Roi Behar of U18 Maccabi Tel Aviv said: "To fight for what's yours and know your rights and just be polite and be a good person above all."
Behar also appreciated Euroleague Basketball giving him and the other players the chance to experience the event and take in the messages.
"I feel blessed to be here. It's great to experience, these stations, and I hope this continues for others," he said.
Fabrizio Pugliatti of U18 Stellazzurra Rome said the organizers really are doing a great job to try to improve the players' lives. And he took the biggest message from the social media discussion: "Social (media) is important for me and they say control your social. So that was important."
The message about the environment was big for Noam Yaacov of U18 LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, who said: "The sustainability talks showed how important it is to really try to do your best to keep it green."
The guard also was very grateful for the opportunity to learn more about these issues.
"It's great. If every young player could get this it would be amazing, and we're very fortunate that we are here and get to learn from such great people," he added.