Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Brian Bell at the 2024 Team USA Media Summit.

Lightning Round with Paralympian Brian Bell

Release Date: June 21, 2024

Category: Blog

Two-time Paralympic gold medalist Brian Bell was recently on the podcast to discuss the sport of wheelchair basketball. We put him through our lightning round of Paralympics-related questions to get a little more insight into who he is before he heads to Paris to compete in his third Paralympics.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Alison: What is your first memory of the Paralympics?

Brian Bell: First memory probably of the Paralympics would be probably just walking into like the Paralympic village, like how big it was, how like all the buildings were decorated with certain countries would probably be one of the things that kind of stand out.

And then of course, opening ceremonies.

Alison: How aware were you before getting into wheelchair basketball? Were you of the Paralympics at all?

Brian Bell: I was not aware of the Paralympics at all. No.

Alison: So how’d you find them? How’d they find you?

Brian Bell: Well, my hometown is Birmingham, Alabama. So I was fortunate enough to have a coworker, my mom’s coworker, after I got injured, gave me a recommendation to go try out Lakeshore, which is a Paralympic and Olympic training center just in my backyard.

So I went there one Saturday because they have like a Saturday sports day for people in the community to come out and try different sports or adaptive sports. So I just went there and tried a bunch of different adaptive sports, tennis, rugby, basketball, of course. And then just gravitated towards basketball and fell in love with that.

Jill: Did you go to the World Games at all when it was in Birmingham?

Brian Bell: I did not know [about them].

Alison: What’s your first memory of the Olympics from when you were a kid?

Brian Bell: I would say my first, uh, it would probably be the It’d probably be the Redeem Team with Jordan. I would probably say that would be like those, watching those games would probably be my probably top memory when I was a kid.

Alison: Where do you keep the medals?

Brian Bell: Where? I actually keep it right in my nightside table, in one of the drawers, uh, right by me. So it’s always close by.

Alison: What is your favorite training exercise?

Brian Bell: My favorite training exercise would probably be bench press falling closely behind like explosive push-ups or anything of that nature.

Alison: Okay. What’s your max on the bench press?

Brian Bell: It’s not too high. I haven’t maxed in a while. So I actually, I don’t really know. But when I was maxing, I think it was around, I will say like 265, 270. I’m hoping that it has gotten better, but we try not to like do just one rep max anymore. It was more just like how fast you can do reps by speed-wise.

Alison: If you could be a Paralympian in any sport. What would it be?

Brian Bell: Wow. I would probably have to say sitting volleyball. I wouldn’t mind doing that.

Alison: Why?

Brian Bell: I know a lot of the women’s sitting volleyball team, and they all, I don’t want to bash it, but they always say that the men’s side are always looking for, you know, top, you know, top athletes to, to help them out, you know.

To do a little bit better. So in that regards, I wouldn’t mind helping him out on that. And also like, I don’t mind volleyball. I played it when I was growing up as a kid, even on my prosthetics, and I find it enjoyable.

Alison: Besides your medals, what is your favorite Paralympic souvenir?

Brian Bell: Ooh, besides the medals, huh? I want to say in Tokyo, probably it would be our volunteer making like characters of each of our players on fans. Like all individual, like little characters of ourselves, on our fans, like she gave it to each one of us. So yeah, that would definitely be the top one.

Alison: I know the two of us are like, the volunteers are amazing. Well, Brian, thank you so much for all your time. We appreciate it.

Catch Brian in action with Team USA during the Paris 2024 Paralympics, which take place from August 28-September 8.