SPECIAL OLYMPICS BASKETBALL and the road to the NBA
Last updated: 9.41pm, Saturday 2nd March 2019
Glasgow City Basketball Club has been focused upon making basketball accessible for all regardless of age, ability or circumstance since its inception in 1982 by James ‘Mick’ McKechnie and Willie Cameron (current Glasgow City Club President).
Glasgow City have been proud to support the Special Olympics Scotland West Basketball team since 2004 by providing coaches, referees and volunteers. Former members Steven Turner and Brendan Pettit coached successful teams in the Summer Games and both coached Great Britain squads in China and Greece.
In 2018, Glasgow City introduced Friday evening sessions for players with learning disabilities to train in a supportive and inclusive environment, coached by current Scotland West Coaches father and son due Willie and Alisdair Cameron. Also assisting is current Glasgow Rocks professional player and City boy Alexander Geddes. Well attended from the beginning, the session now boasts a number of committed and dedicated members who are keen to learn and develop their basketball skills.
Glasgow City has a long history of producing successful international players to represent their country at all levels from under 12s to senior level for both male and females. Our disability sessions have offered a similar platform of opportunity for success, enjoying recent triumph for one player in particular.
Leanne Woolfe is a Scotland West Special Olympic player and Great Britain Special Olympic player. Leanne has been religiously attending our Friday sessions to assist her in her preparation for the World Games, where she will be joined in Abu Dhabi by her teammate Ashleyann Fleming in the Great Britain squad. The Special Olympics now boast almost 6 million athletes in over 170 countries and Glasgow City are delighted to celebrate this wonderful achievement for these players.
On 15 January 2019 it was announced that the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 had selected 12 Special Olympics players from all over the world to play an inclusive game with NBA and WNBA legends and players. Alongside others from Germany, Canada, the USA and Japan, Leanne enjoyed the heights of the NBA as she participated in the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports Game as part of the NBA All Star Weekend. Each athlete selected enjoyed an unforgettable NBA All-Star experience, including a meet-and-greet with players such as legends Sam Perkins, Ron Harper and from the WNBA Taj McWilliams.
The athletes also received tickets to various events throughout the week.
Leanne enjoyed the experience of a lifetime as she was coached by current Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving and was joined in the team by none other than NBA legend Dikembe Mutumbo. On the opposing team, coached by Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, were Muggsy Bogues and Horace Grant, none of which phased Leanne who was simply there to enjoy the experience and continue to improve her skills as she moves towards Abu Dhabi 2019.
Director of Games and Competition at the Special Olympics said: “We are proud to continue our partnership with the NBA and to be leaders in creating more inclusive opportunities to play the game. The annual unified game gives us another opportunity to showcase the abilities of not only the Special Olympics athletes, but the power of Unified Sports to change hearts and minds.”
Glasgow City prides itself upon creating inclusive opportunities and ensuring that all players are supported to exceed their potential, regardless of circumstances. We continue to welcome new members for all ages, levels and abilities. Your only limit is your own belief, so come along and join us. You could also find yourself face to face with the legends of the NBA one day soon!