All-Stars Chosen for NWBA 2008 Game
by Jennifer Jordan
The upcoming NBA All-Star weekend may be a time for famous superstars to come together and compete on a single court, but it’s also something more. The NBA all-star weekend isn’t just about the Tim Duncan’s and the Dwyane Wade’s that bless our TV screens every time we turn on ESPN. Bringing together a variety of aspects of this sport we’ve come to know and love as basketball, the all-star weekend also features an all-star lineup of a different sorts: players from the NWBA.
The NWBA, or National Wheelchair Basketball Association, was founded six decades ago in 1948. Today, it consists of over 200 wheelchair basketball teams in 22 different conferences. Like the NBA, the NWBA has MVP’s and a Hall of Fame. It also has strict rules, many similar to those enforced by the NBA. The NWBA has expanded to include men, women, youth, and intercollegiate teams located in the US and Canada.
Just as in the NBA, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association has its fair share of all stars, a feat that doesn’t go unnoticed over all-star weekend. On February 7, the top 24 wheelchair basketball players were chosen to participate in the 2008 NBA/NWBA All-Star Wheelchair Classic. The game takes place on Valentine’s Day at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center amid the NBA All-Star Jam Session.
Though the NWBA has been in existence for sixty years, it wasn’t included in the NBA All-Star weekend until rather recently, in 1998. Since then, it’s been an annual tradition. The players who exhibit superb skill for wheelchair basketball are selected and divided into East and West All-Stars. The stars then compete, like the NBA All-Stars, for victory and, essentially, bragging rights.
The Miami Heat, has one all-star in the NBA all-star game, guard Dwyane Wade. The Miami Heat Wheels, not to be outdone, also has one all-star in the NWBA game: Carlos Ocasio.