DETROIT (FOX 2) - A Detroit team competing in the Pistons' upcoming 3-on-3 tournament in July has collectively fought a more difficult battle than most.
The 14 teammates on the Detroit Diehards all have a life-altering disability. The team has given all of them a new sense of freedom.
Andrew Edwards was nearly killed in a childhood accident, but he's not competing at the highest level in his sport. His back broke when he was just 4 years old and got in a car accident.
"I was in the hospital for about two years. It was difficult growing up but wheelchair basketball helped me out," he tells us. "Once I got started I fell in love first day."
Myreo Dixon is another player, paralyzed from the waist down when he was a victim of gun violence at 18 years old.
"I was kinda depressed, you know, confidence shot, I didn't want to go outside. If I wasn't in school I was at home," he said.
Then a couple of guys got him involved in wheelchair basketball, too, and it changed everything.
Myreo has traveled the country playing for the Detroit Diehards in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. He won its division 3 national title in 2013, so he has the stuff of champions. He and his teammates, are practicing hard to get ready for the big tournament now in Detroit.
"A 3-on-3, it's more physical. You have to do a lot of pick and rolling," Myreo explained. The shot clock if also different, you play half-court and your strategy must be on point.
The game means a lot to these players, as it gives them a sense of independence.
"Independence, knowing that you can still do something that you love that you did before and whatever happened to you, and excel at it," Myreo said.
"I feel incredible. I don't think there's any other experience or feeling that can compare to that part. It's like, you're invincible on the court. You can do anything, really," Andrew said.
The Detroit Diehards will be one of about 200 teams competing in the Detroit Pistons' first-ever summer 3-on-3 tournament on July 13 at Little Caesars Arena and other courts throughout downtown.