Orlando, Florida • February 18th & 19th, 2017
Before we review the weekend’s games, here’s a little background on Orlando’s Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. In 2012 the city of Orlando hosted the NBA’s All Star Tournament, and our team decided it would be a great opportunity to showcase wheelchair basketball by hosting our own Tournament. The Orlando Magic Wheels have been a local NWBA Division 3 wheelchair basketball team for 25+ years, but it had been many seasons since we actually hosted a tournament. By coordinating with Orange County to obtain local gyms to play the games and raising funds through a generous grant from the Harper Foundation we had the basics to hold a tournament. Without going into all the details it takes to run this type of event, let’s just say that without all the planning, coordination, volunteers and the myriad of other donations we were able to secure none of this would have been possible. Much less repeating those endeavors five more times. So every year on or around the NBA’s All Star break the Orlando Magic Wheels host our annual tournament.
This year’s tournament featured teams from New Orleans, Alabama, Virginia, Jacksonville, and Palm Beach, Florida. Going into the weekend, the Orlando Magic Wheels were ranked 9th nationally according to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). This is important in that our team is striving to receive an invitation to the National Championships at the end of March, and only the top 16 teams are selected to compete. The other teams at our tournament attempting to get into the Championships were Jacksonville, Alabama and New Orleans – lots of good competition.