The Charlottesville Cardinals are a nationally ranked wheelchair basketball team based in Virginia. The Cardinals have been ranked in the Sweet Sixteen of the NWBA for the past 13 years, finishing #16 in the nation in the 2015-16 season. The 2007 season marked the first time that the Cardinals’ squad made the NWBA Final Four. The Cardinals posted their eighth straight 20+ win season between 2005 and 2013.

The Cardinals at a UVA Half-time
Cardinals Team Photo 2008

The Cardinals’ line-up includes men and women, young and old. The youngest current player is 19, and the oldest is 82. The Charlottesville Cardinals compete in the Capitol Conference of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. They also perform numerous demonstrations at schools, churches, and community events to educate the general public concerning the abilities of people with disabilities. They have also assisted numerous community groups raise funds for various causes throughout the years. Throughout its existence, the Charlottesville Cardinals have remained committed to their mission of eliminating attitudinal barriers towards people with disabilities by energetically demonstrating their “abilities”, rather than “disabilities”, on the basketball court.

Cardinals Team Photo 1982
The Cardinals in Toronto in 1982

The Charlottesville Cardinals wheelchair basketball team was formed in early 1980 by six local athletes in the Charlottesville area. The team was created to provide athletes with disabilities an opportunity for exercise and competitive recreation and to educate the general public concerning the capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Since its formation, over 575 area athletes with disabilities have participated with the Cardinals and they have performed in front of over 100,000 people across the U.S., Canada, and Central America.

In 1982, members of the Cardinals formed a local advocacy group for people with disabilities that eventually became the Independence Resource Center, one of sixteen centers for independent living in central Virginia. Members of the Cardinals still serve on both the staff and Board of Directors of the Independence Resource Center. The team was initially sponsored by the Therapeutic Recreation Program of the City of Charlottesville but is now also sponsored by the Independence Resource Center.