Playing sport while having a disability is full of different difficulties, but for Manuel, a 23-year-old from Bologna, his love for basketball went to new heights thanks to the work of Virtus Segafredo Bologna and its One Team program. While he had encountered problems when playing wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis, the sport of Baskin suited him to a T – and Virtus's One Team sessions helped bring out the best parts of Manuel's personality.
First of all, perhaps it is important to explain Baskin a little. Baskin is a very inclusive sport in which players with no disability are able to play alongside people with different levels of issues, thanks to a series of specific rules that ensure everyone involved can take part and try to win.
As a big fan of Virtus and someone who picked up Baskin at 22, Manuel was naturally very excited to join the Italian club's One Team program. Playing at center for PGS Welcome Baskin Bologna, where he is one of the team's main scorers, he found a sport in Baskin that made him feel comfortable as it brings together many different people with different conditions.
Through One Team, Manuel saw his dream come true as he scored a basket in front of 9,000 people at Virtus Segafredo Arena during halftime of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game between Virtus and FC Barcelona. In fact, Manuel was taken aback by the chance to score a basket in front of his fellow Virtus supporters; so much so that he didn’t even remember what happened in the first half and later cried with happiness for two days.
There were several key learning moments for Manuel during the One Team program, such as acting as a Baskin teacher to Virtus and Magika Pallacanestro's youth-team players. He also had a special conversation with Virtus's One Team ambassador last season, Kyle Weems, who was taught the rules of Baskin by Manuel. Fellow Virtus player Daniel Hackett was another who was able to discover the incredible sport of Baskin.