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But wait, there's more!
CHARLOTTE (Steve Goldberg's Wheel World) - A catchphrase from the infomercials on American television that has become part of the popular culture lexicon – But wait, there's more! – is the perfect title for this column as the past year melds into the new.
The big stories included the IWBF Men's U23 World Championship that returned to where it all started in Canada as well as the 43 men’s and 19 women’s senior teams who participated in IWBF zonal championships for a spot in this year's world championship tournament that will be held in Hamburg next August.
As that ended, the domestic seasons began. FIBA says basketball is everywhere. It's also all the time. The ball never stops bouncing.
Some growth comes from getting smaller. The future for the small-sided version of the wheelchair game received good news as it made part of the schedule for the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, England and application is in process to make it part of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Congratulations to @birminghamcg22 officially confirmed as the host city of the @thecgf in 2022! 🙌— IWBF (@_IWBF) December 21, 2017
The announcement also means exciting news for #wheelchairbasketball, set to make its debut in 2022 with the 3x3 format. 🎉🎉 🔗https://t.co/OGkJa8NIKw pic.twitter.com/RqInXpNRcB
FIBA 3X3 will have already made its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the IWBF is looking to have the accessibility of the smaller roster and court requirements to help grow the game overall in developing countries and other nations that have the potential athletes but have yet to join the party.
In spite of its long history and recent gains, wheelchair basketball is still very nascent on the growth curve and efforts continue to bring the game to the people. The IWBF held a camp in Thailand which focused on bringing more women to the sport, specifically in the Asia region.
But that doesn't mean the game is fully developed in countries including the United States as evident in a local story from here in Charlotte.
"Basketball has completely changed everything."
While the Ball family has shown the downside of parent-child relationships in the sports arena, Rochelle and Landon Benton put a different and far more positive spin on it. They are, perhaps, the only mother-son combination competing in wheelchair basketball.
Both play for the Charlotte Rollin' Hornets. Rochelle for the Division 3 and Women's teams; Landon for the Junior Varsity team.
Both were born with tibial dysplasia, a congenital birth defect that resulted in both legs being amputated just above the knee.
Now 14, Landon has been playing since he was 6, while his mom tired of watching from the sideline and started three years ago. In fact, she had an open invitation from the adult team to play but she didn't want to risk impeding on her son's participation.
He was cool with it and her life will never be the same.
They have one of the strongest bonds I've ever seen between a mother and a son, and have overcome odds most of us can't even begin to fathom.https://t.co/LdbtjUtoD3— Théoden Janes (@theodenjanes) December 13, 2017
PREPARATION > LUCK
When I was writing my last column, I included video of Patrick Anderson practicing half-court shots with the point being that these long range bombs were more method than miracle for accomplished players. If I'd known about it then, I surely would have added the video below as proof of concept.
Evidently, as the Twitterverse shows us, dunking is now part of wheelchair basketball. Tip Thiboutot was right. Wheelchairs can jump.
#YearInReview - This year, we celebrated 20 years since Canada hosted the first ever @_iwbf Men's U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship where #TeamCanada won gold on home soil. pic.twitter.com/pJtKKSiJ6K— WheelchairBballCAN (@WCBballCanada) December 27, 2017
Yeah, I know. He's just cutting down the net. But it took me a moment to realize he wasn't dunking. On the other hand...
I leave you with this message from the IWBF as we launch into the new year…
Thank you 2017 - fantastic tournaments, huge steps to professionalise the sport and of course the continued growth of our wheelchair basketball family!— IWBF (@_IWBF) December 31, 2017
Thank you to everyone involved in the development of our sport!
Happy New Year 🎉 - here's to an even more exciting 2018! pic.twitter.com/s05sBBSyF7
From the Wheel World column, thanks to all the athletes, officials, administrators, and fans who have and continue to carry the torch for over 60 years of basketball's wheel world. It's been a pleasure to cover it here for the past five plus years.
Come on 2018, what'ya got?
FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.
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