By Paolo Pagcanlungan
It’s all in the wrist.
To any aspiring or avid basketball player, this phrase is part of a fundamental concept on how to shoot a basketball the right way. The other part of the shot is in the legs. So to a wheelchair basketball player, this is everything.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will eventually happen after COVID-19 delays subside, and with wheelchair basketball being a staple sport to watch in the Paralympic Games, it would only make sense to brush up on wheelchair basketball trivia to join in on the action. Here are some facts you ought to know about wheelchair basketball:
Wheelchair Basketball Was Invented By World War II Veterans
Soldiers who survived the war in 1945 kept their love for playing basketball at an amateur level even after suffering injuries.
No Disabilities Are Needed To Play!
Outside of the international level, anyone of any physical ability, age, gender, race, ethnic background, and social or economic status can play wheelchair basketball. Now that is inclusive.
Players Are Classified By A Point System
A point value system is used to classify players based on functional ability, with 1.0 being the least physically functional score to 4.5 being the most physically functional score. Each team can have can have a maximum total point value of 14 on the court playing at one time.
The Highest Level of Competition Is Neck-and-Neck
At the Paralympic Games, both the Canadian and US Women’s wheelchair basketball teams find themselves finishing at the top of the podium three times each. Who will tip the gold scale? Will a new challenger appear? The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will decide, and no matter the outcome, these two teams are ones to watch out for.
Dribbling Is Still Part Of The Game
Just because players are sitting in wheelchairs doesn’t mean they get to change one of the most iconic parts of the game! At least once every two pushes of the wheelchair, players must dribble the ball on the ground (watch out for some NBA players who like to take the same liberties from time to time). After all, what is basketball without the chance to catch a body and break some ankles?
Women First Entered The Scene With A Bang
A 95-person bang, that is. That’s how many women from nine countries competed in the Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games, only eight years after the sport first opened its doors at the international level in Rome. Check the above link to see how the first countries measured up.
Canada Is The Gold Standard
Canada has held the first and second place spot on the gold medal standings board for wheelchair basketball since the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games. The country boasts a total of six gold medals!
When 13-year-old Lily Rice WCMX saw a used wheelchair posted on Instagram by her hero, a Wheelchair motocross star, her imagination ran wild—could she take up the sport? Her mother replied to the post and days before her birthday, Lily ends up receiving the gift of a lifetime.Posted by Community Voices from Facebook on Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Wheelchair basketball is one of five wheelchair sports sanctioned in the Paralympic Games. The other sports are wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, and wheelchair curling. With skateboarding being added to the 2020 Olympic Games, here’s to hoping Motocross wheelchair athletes get their shine too.
Leave No Teammate (Or Opponent) Behind
If a player falls out of his/her wheelchair, play is stopped for the safety of everyone on the court. To prevent this situation from happening too often, wheelchairs have anti-tip casters to keep them from tipping backwards. But watch out: these kinds of wheelchairs don’t come by cheap.
Ahead Of Their Time
Wheelchair basketball playing time is divided up into four quarters lasting for 10 minutes each, saving two minutes off of NBA standard regulation. This is something the NBA tested out in 2014 in looking for a new way to deliver a better overall product. Overtime play is the same though – five minutes for each overtime until teams are no longer tied.