By Sam Perley
The Charlotte Hornets are proud to congratulate Abilities Unlimited of the Carolinas – the umbrella organization of the Charlotte Jr. Rollin’ Hornets Wheelchair Basketball Team – for recently being named the Partners for Parks’ Non-Profit Organization Award winner for 2017.
Founded in 2005 by three Charlotte area fathers of children with physical disabilities, Abilities Unlimited provides organized athletics programs in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair track and field, wheelchair softball, swimming and a variety of other outdoor sports.
The Rollin’ Hornets are currently comprised of three junior and two adult wheelchair basketball teams that compete within the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). Led by head coach and director, Mike Godsey, teams compete in both regional and national-level tournaments from October to April every year.
The overall mission of the Rollin’ Hornets is to promote independence for both children and adults with physical disabilities while also providing opportunities to pursue active, healthy lifestyles in adaptive sports.
Nearly a dozen Abilities Unlimited alumni have received collegiate athletic scholarships with several representing the United States at the Paralympics, World Championships and Parapan American Games.
The awarding association, Partners for Parks is an independent non-profit organization in Mecklenburg County which partners with the Park and Recreation Department to support over 200+ parks and recreational facilities in the area. Established in 1996, this organization strives to improve the quality of life for local citizens and the surrounding area through preservation, promotion and enhancement of parks, greenways, open spaces, active play and recreational opportunities.
One particular Hornet player that has had a strong connection with wheelchair basketball for a number of years is Nicolas Batum. The Frenchman has hosted numerous clinics and tournaments for the sport in Europe, Portland and now Charlotte as well. Last December, he purchased Christmas gifts and new equipment for the Rollin’ Hornets and even participated in an afternoon clinic with the team on the Hornets practice court.
The Rollin’ Hornets return to action the weekend of Nov. 5-6 for the 2017 Winter Classic Tournament at Porter Ridge High School and Middle School in Indian Trail, NC. Additional information about this competition and the team itself can be found on the Rollin’ Hornets Facebook page or @RollinHornets on both Twitter and Instagram.