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NEWS | Oct. 3, 2018

Spurs take on injured warriors in wheelchair basketball at Center for the Intrepid

By Lori Newman Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

The San Antonio Spurs basketball team visited the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Oct. 1. This gave the crop of new players the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility and engage in a competitive game of wheelchair basketball with a group of injured service members.

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich brought the players and coaches to the CFI for a couple of reasons.

“It’s always good for anyone to understand that there are people who have it a lot worse off than they do,” Popovich said. “So they understand how fortunate and how lucky they are to have the bodies that they do and to be able to move around with both legs and both arms and not be burned.”

Popovich said the other reason they visit the CFI is to “show respect” for what the service members have sacrificed.

“Being here, seeing the facility and how the people operate … it’s an eye-opener for them to see what actually goes on in the real world,” the coach said.

Spurs players rotated on and off the court as they played a game of three-on-three with the wounded warriors. Even though no official score was kept, it was clear the warriors maintained the upper hand throughout the game as the other players and bystanders cheered them on.

Spurs shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV seemed to enjoy the friendly competition.

“That was fun,” the rookie said, as the sweat poured off him after leaving the court.

Spurs forward Rudy Gay watched the game from the bleachers along with other team members.

“This is cool to see,” Gay said. “Obviously we deal with injuries and rehab, but not to this scale. It’s cool to see how the scientists and doctors get people back up, so they can try to live as much of a normal life as possible.”

Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller, BAMC commanding general, and BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Oates thanked the Spurs for coming.

“We appreciate you guys coming out to see what we do and go through on a daily basis,” Oates said. “You guys are who our kids look up to, who we look up to as we go about our day. Some of our children aspire to be like you and we just appreciate you.”

Oates wished them luck on their upcoming season and asked that they bring back a championship to San Antonio soon.