Rolling Devils Honored at Basketball Hall of Fame
The Naval Hospital in Norco, which opened on the site of the Norconian Hotel in World War II, is believed to be one the birthplaces of wheelchair basketball. It was at the hospital that a group from the local chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) became the original members of the Rolling Devils, one of the first teams of its kind. The pioneering Devils barnstormed through California, raising money for the PVA and introducing fans to what would ultimately become a popular mainstream sport. According to historians, their tour culminated in a sold-out game in the Bay Area with the semi-pro Oakland Bittners. Each year those athletes and American heroes are honored in Norco with the Rolling Devils Wheelchair Basketball Tournament.
On the 30th anniversary of the signing of the landmark American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), the story of the Rolling Devils reminds us of the boundless potential of the human spirit. Many Rolling Devils alumni spent the rest of their lives fighting for accessibility and equality across the nation. Thanks to the efforts of local leaders, the Rolling Devils are being remembered for both their wartime heroism and athletic achievements. Images of the team are included in a film presented as part of a new exhibit celebrating accessibility, diversity and equality at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.