CHICAGO, IL (Feb. 14, 2020) – Announced today by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at NBA All-Star weekend, the winner of the 2020 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award is Timothy Nugent, the founder of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association in 1949. Nugent will be honored at Enshrinement Weekend in Springfield, Mass., the Birthplace of Basketball, during Enshrinement Weekend in August of 2020.
The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted by the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees in 1973 and is the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of Enshrinement. Named in honor of Hall of Famer John W. Bunn (Class of 1964), the first chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Committee who served from 1949-1964, the award honors coaches, players and contributors whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional and/or the international game.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame is pleased to posthumously recognize Timothy Nugent as the recipient of this year’s Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “Mr. Nugent was truly ahead of his time when it came to ideas of accessibility and creating opportunities for those with physical limitations. As the founder and original commissioner of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, we appreciate his contributions to the game we celebrate.”
Timothy Nugent, who is best known as the “Father of Accessibility” dedicated his life to giving opportunities to those with disabilities. Nugent played and coached basketball throughout his life, and through this, he was inspired to give those with disabilities a chance to play the game he loved.
After concluding his military career, Nugent organized wheelchair sports for wounded veterans who were otherwise limited by lack of opportunity. Wheelchair basketball started up around the country, and most of the teams were organized at Veterans Administration hospitals. Nugent and his team, the Gizz Kids, organized the first wheelchair basketball tournament; from this, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association was formed. The Gizz Kids took their game on the road and went around the country expanding acceptance for wheelchair basketball.
Nugent is deeply respected by athletes, coaches and leaders alike. He expanded wheelchair basketball around the country and watched as it became a part of the Paralympic Games and Parapan Am Games. After being the first Commissioner of the NWBA, he was inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2019.
Nugent will be honored with the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend August 28-30, 2020. For more further details, including ticket information, visit www.hoophall.com/Enshrinement.
1973 - John Bunn
1990 - Pat Head Summitt
2007 - Thomas “Satch” Sanders
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall #BunnAward or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.
Basketball Hall of Fame Media Contact:
Nicole Taylor,Position Sports // [email protected]