The Journey to a Wheelchair Basketball National Championship
Photographs of the uphill battles and crowning triumph of a storied athletic program
In 2008, the mens wheelchair basketball team at the University of Illinois set out to achieve their sports pinnacle: a college national championship. That lofty goal represented another stage of a journey begun in 1948 when Tim Nugent established the Gizz Kids wheelchair squad.
Embedded with the team, Josh Birnbaum took photos that captured the life experiences of people in the Illinois wheelchair basketball program from 2005 through the 2008 championship season. Dream Shot follows the unique lives of the players and coaches on the court and the road, and in quiet moments at home and the classroom. Along the way, Birnbaum provides the definitive story of the 2008 team and the challenges it overcame to capture one of Illinoiss record fifteen mens titles.
Featuring more than 100 color photographs, Dream Shot memorializes a legendary team alongside the story of the universitys dedication to the progress of disability rights.
"Birnbaum's respectful and big-hearted honest photographs show us that on the court, and especially off of the court during their everyday lives, this is a team and a community of champions."--David Guttenfelder, National Geographic photographer
"This book is a fantastic testament to the power, struggle, and triumph of wheelchair basketball and the program, coaches, and players at the University of Illinois. Dr. Nugents dream is alive and well and is personified by the team of individuals captured in Dream Shot: The Journey to a Wheelchair Basketball National Championship."--Jim Scherr, Executive Director, National Wheelchair Basketball Association
"Dream Shot is a unique visual and literary journey through the National Championship season of a historic and successful program. The book touches on all aspects of a season including relationship building, skill development, and setting and achieving goals. The story gives readers a chance to get to know the athletes and the process behind winning a National Championship."--Jeremy L. Lade, Director of Wheelchair Athletics, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
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