ISTANBUL

Turkish national basketball team player Cedi Osman was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers forward’s appointment was announced by UNICEF’s Turkey representative Philippe Duamelle in an online press conference.

Speaking at the virtual event, Osman said he is pleased to be given the opportunity to help children.

“I started collaborating with the UNICEF family two years ago, and we have done many projects together. I believe we will do much better,” he said.

Last year, the 25-year-old took part in a UNICEF program aimed at helping Syrian refugees living in Turkey’s Gaziantep.

He stressed on the importance of education, saying “sports is a part of our life but education is indispensable.”

“We take part in sports, but retire after a certain age. Education, however, follows you wherever you go for the rest of your life,” Osman said.

Hard work, he said, is key no matter what one does. “Both of my parents were former basketball players but I wanted to be a pilot… it looked very cool to me… I am sure every kid has dreamt of becoming a pilot,” he said. “But when I started basketball, I set objectives for myself.

“You have to work hard and practice a lot… millions of people are making the same dream, but just a few, a handful of people, really succeed.”

The NBA player said he aimed to expand a youth academy he established and reach out to more children.

In 2017, Osman left Turkish powerhouse Anadolu Efes to join the Cavaliers.

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