2023 NWBA NATIONAL DIII CHAMPIONS!!!
At the end of March, the team traveled to Wichita, Kansas for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championships. The Orlando Magic Wheels play in the NWBA’s Division 3 and were seeded 4th out of 16 teams invited to the Tournament. We defeated the following teams in pool play to advance to the championship, Team St. Lukes from Washington, the Cap City Cardinals from Columbus, Ohio, and the LWSRA Hawks from Chicago. The Championship game against the # 2 seeded Pittsburgh Steelwheelers began with our best player & Team Captain breaking his thumb 2 minutes into the game! Fast forward to the second half and we were down by 4 going in the 4th quarter. That’s when our defense stepped up and closed out the game with a 5 point win! There are lots of pictures of this successful season but the 2 I have attached tell it all. And yes, we cut down the net!
Winning the NWBA Division 3 National Championship meant many things for the Orlando Magic Wheels. For starters, we are now advancing to the Adult Division 2 bracket – much tougher competition. On the downside, we have traditionally been a developmental team. We have welcomed all new players and endeavored to teach them the game of WC Basketball and make them part of our family. Unfortunately, the players who helped win the Championship are no longer eligible to play in Division 3. So, for the Magic Wheels to continue bringing on young, inexperienced, and newly injured WC athletes, we will need to have 2 teams (DII & DIII). Financially speaking, supporting 1 team thru donations and sponsorships has been difficult. Supporting 2 adult teams is a much more daunting fundraising task. To that end, we are actively working on acquiring Sponsors. Any assistance in that effort would be greatly appreciated.
Wrapping up the 22/23 season, we participated in a disability awareness day event this week at the Milwee Middle School where we showcased members of our team playing an Exhibition game. We invited young members from the Dreamplex Junior’s team to play alongside our veteran players. Super Chance and Jetzel joined us and showed the students and teachers what our future looks like. Anyway, if possible, having a Junior team of WC Athletes would greatly enhance our program. Members of our team jump at the opportunity to teach these youngsters the sport that we love to play.
Looking forward, we will continue to practice and bring on new team members. We have learned a lot this past season and will continue to improve our WC Basketball mechanics. We are also currently practicing with our Florida Wounded Warrior military team to prepare them for an upcoming National competition. As you can see our story is very diverse and far reaching. Hopefully, we will continue to grow and enhance the disabled community and educate the able-bodied community.