Golden State Road Warriors History
The Golden State Wheelchair Basketball program began in 1976. Founded by Bill Duncan.
The program started as the Golden State 76ers, playing basketball around the country
and barely making the bottom 25 in Sports N’ Spokes, the official wheelchair sports
magazine in its first year. But the team was thrilled to have its name in print, to
let the wheelchair basketball world know that they existed.
Golden State quickly made a name for itself and rose to the top twenty and eventually
the top ten and then the top five. Players like Kevin “Tree” Lowery, Dave Efferson,
Mike Elix, Rod Williams, Phil Kahn, Jeff Breilh, and Peter Sanchez started the climb
and the additions of Trooper Johnson and Chuck “G” Gill made the Golden State team a
contender for the national title. The Warriors were considered by many wheelchair
basketball followers as one of the most complete team in the history of the sport.
Under the direction of Head Coach Paul Jackson (now a Hall of Famer), a well respected
coach and teacher of the sport, the team has become a dominant force in the sport of
Golden State affiliated with the Golden State Warriors in the early 90’s and became
the official wheelchair basketball team of the Warriors and changed their name to the
Golden State Road Warriors.
Golden State has participated in numerous post-season competitions and has competed
in many final fours, winning the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA)
title in 2001 and 2004 and. Numerous players from the Road Warriors have represented
the United States in international competitions, as well as coach Jackson.
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) was
founded in 1948 in an attempt to provide organized competition for the many veterans
returning from WWII. VA hospitals were the first homes to wheelchair basketball and
quickly expanded to community-based teams. The organization has grown now to include:
three men’s, women, intercollegiate and junior divisions. Teams from the United States
and Canada make up the NWBA.
Wheelchair basketball is played in accordance with NCAA rules with minor exceptions:
the player receives four seconds in the lane –vs.- three and the player must dribble
the ball after two pushes of the chair. The wheelchair is considered a part of the
player, so other calls are made accordingly (player in position and hit, a charge, if
moving a block). In addition, each player is assigned a classification and point(s).
Teams may only have 12 points on the floor during competition.
Any person with a permanent disability to a lower extremity may qualify to play
wheelchair basketball. Players must undergo a classification by a physical or
occupational therapists or physician and deemed eligible. A player need not use a
wheelchair as their everyday transportation to be eligible.
Founder, Bill Duncan
Injured in a car accident, Bill was introduced to wheelchair basketball at an early
age. Seeing a man in a wheelchair basketball shirt, Bill approached him and said he
used to play years earlier. The man asked if he would be interested in starting a new
team and perhaps playing again, Bill said yes and the Golden State team began in 1976.
Bill not only played ball, he took the leadership role of the team and became its
manager, mentor and found, today, one of the best coach’s around, Paul Jackson. Bill
helped make his team one of the best, both on and off the court. Respected by competitors,
the team’s reputation grew as tough competitors on the court and good guys off the court.
Bill volunteered countless hours to make not only Golden State the best it could be, but
the NWBA the best organization for disabled sport. He served as various chairs in the NWBA,
attending every annual meeting for 25 years.
Bill lost his battle with melanoma in June of 2000 and Golden State captured the ultimate
prize a few months later, having dedicated that season to their founder and friend. Today,
the team continues to honor Bill and his contributions by hosting the Bill Duncan Memorial
Wheelchair Basketball Tournament the first weekend in December each year. The NWBA
inducted Bill into the NWBA Hall of Fame in 2002 and honor him each year with the Bill
Duncan Good Guy Award, presented to an outstanding volunteer in the sport of wheelchair