When the Sportable Rim Riders take the court this weekend at the River City Classic, an iconic fixture in wheelchair basketball will take the helm for the last time in RVA.
Jimmy May, who has put Richmond at the forefront of wheelchair basketball since the team’s inception in 1981, will hang up his whistle when the season ends at the NWBA National Championships in Wichita, KS later this month.
A disabled Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient, May started his wheelchair basketball career with the Richmond Charioteers nearly five decades ago (1973-1981) before establishing the Rim Riders. The team merged with Sportable in 2017 and is a Division II member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, the governing body of the 181 wheelchair basketball teams nationwide.
Throughout his decorated career, May earned the reputation as a prime outside shooter as a guard and a competitive tactician as a coach. He has led several teams to the NWBA Playoffs, including a Final Four appearance. A NWBA Hall of Famer hailed as an “unsung hero” by the NWBA, May is a tireless advocate for the disability community both locally and nationally. He currently serves as President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Mid-Atlantic Chapter – the presenting sponsor of this weekend’s River City Classic.
The sport of wheelchair basketball originated out of the U.S. Veterans Administration’s hospital system in the late 1940s as disabled World War II veterans adapted basketball as a way to get active. NBWA historians believe the Richmond wheelchair basketball program is one of the oldest in the United States.
May’s Rim Riders will tip off at 10am, 2pm, and 5:30pm this Saturday, March 12 at RockIt Sports. The “Jimmy May GRIT Award” will be presented to the player who exhibits an indomitable spirit throughout the weekend.