FIBA columnist Steve Goldberg provides excellent insight into the world of wheelchair basketball through his column Wheel World that is featured on the FIBA website. In a recent article Steve was able to explain a metamorphosis that takes place in various NBA arenas around the country every year. No, it is not the burgeoning rookie posterizing an NBA legend and staking his claim to future stardom. Rather, he captures the transformation of a crowd during a half time wheelchair basketball demonstration from a group of polite, onlookers applauding the ability of a few people in wheelchairs to show themselves in public into a pack of sports fans thunderously celebrating the athleticism of people playing basketball, albeit a little differently from their NBA counterparts.
As with most Paralympic sports, it only takes the opportunity to see the sport to quickly forget about the wheelchair, the prosthetic limb, or the guide runner and focus on the athlete and appreciate the countless hours of practice and the sacrifices that went into preparing for competition. With the London 2012 Olympic Games set to begin in 105 days, there will be plenty of opportunity to witness and appreciate the Olympic athletes through countless hours of live and recorded broadcasts on NBC and its affiliated networks. But will we see one hour of Paralympic sport broadcast live? Will the best athletes in the world competing on wheels, with prosthetics, with impaired or no vision have their time in prime time? Will the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, gold medalists in 2004 & 2008, defend their title in front of a national audience? There is the possibility, but we need to let NBC know that there is indeed a market for Paralympic sport!
If you would like to let NBC know that you want to see Paralympic sport, you can contact them here. Let NBC know that we are a nation of sport lovers and the Paralympic Games are just that, sport, at the highest level.