Brian Bell

Brian Bell


The Backstory:
Bell lost his right leg below the knee at age 10 in a train accident. He was introduced to wheelchair basketball at the Lakeshore Foundation, an adaptive sports club in Birmingham, Alabama, not far from his hometown. After receiving excellent coaching from Miles Thompson, Bell was recruited to the University of Illinois, a top collegiate program for wheelchair basketball. He won multiple national titles at Illinois, then went on to become a top professional in Europe, winning a string of championships in German and Italian leagues. An energetic player with a well-rounded game, Bell helped Team USA win a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Away from the court:
Bell is married with five children and divides his time between the United States and Germany. He is furthering his education in a graduate program.

In their own words:
“The biggest obstacle we have with Paralympic sport is getting more people to see it. Rio 2016 helped a lot. There was a lot of publicity leading up to that. We tend to get overshadowed by the Olympics, especially because we usually come afterwards. We’re also competing with the NBA, the NFL, MLB. There’s so many professional sports in the US that it’s hard for Paralympic sports to get a shot.”

“Basketball has provided a tremendous opportunity for me, allowing me to live in Germany for this long and travel internationally overseas. But not everyone has that opportunity, so it’s a chance now for me to speak out as an ambassador through sports.”

“I’m definitely planning on staying in the sport when I retire. That’s the biggest thing—we just don’t have as many coaches that have played basketball before, and we don’t have a lot of minority coaches. I want to start off with youth. That’s where the help is most needed. It’s just a huge leap from the juniors to college, and today’s young players are just not as ready to take that step as they used to be.”

Learn more:
Team USA Page
IPC Page
Team USA: “Wheelchair basketball Gold Medalist Brian Bell Reminsces About Rio Triumph to Re-Air On NBCSN”
Amplitude: “First the Podium, Then the Platform for Brian Bell”
Amplitude: “Brian Bell Chases His Hoop Dreams”


Prior Paralympics: 2016

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  • Sport: Basketball
  • Limb Difference: Right below knee
  • DOB: 2/24/89
  • Residence: Chicago, IL
  • College: University of Illinois
  • Classification: 4.5