Becca Murray has recently retired from the international level of wheelchair basketball. The 2x Paralympic Gold Medallist and all-round GOAT of the game spoke with Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings to give an in-depth insight into her era-defining career.
Why did you decide to retire?
“I actually decided to retire following the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, but I was asked to come back. I still love playing the game, so I came back but training at the Paralympic level is a whole new ball game. After hearing the news that the Paralympics were going to be postponed because of the Coronavirus, I could not get myself in a place mentally where I wanted to train for another year and a half and that wouldn’t be fair on my team or my country so I decided to retire for a second and final time.”
Do you think you think you’ve made the right decision? If so, why?
“Yes, I have made the right decision. I always say that people should do what makes them happy. If you aren’t happy in life, what’s the point? I’m ready to live my life outside of basketball and accomplish other goals that I have set for myself like buying a condo at the end of this year. I’m also really looking forward to spending more time with my friends and family.”
What are some of the proudest moments in your career?
“I have a ton of proud moments in my career. Helping to start the Women’s team and winning a 3-peat at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, winning Gold at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, overcoming the heartbreak of taking 4th at the 2012 Paralympics and capturing the Gold again in 2016 at the Rio Paralympics, and winning three National Championships with my current local Women’s team (Milwaukee Lady Bucks.)”
Who influenced you the most in your career?
“I have had a ton of amazing people who have influenced my basketball career! I can’t even name them all, but I hope they know that I appreciate every single one of them. I have been blessed to have so many incredible people in my life.”
Do you have any regrets?
“Nope. I don’t believe in regrets, only lessons learned. Everything that someone goes through makes them into the person that they are. I also try to see the positive in everything.”
How will you give back to the game?
“I plan on giving back by still being involved in the sport and hopefully still being a mentor or role model for the younger generation.”
How has wheelchair basketball evolved since you first started playing?
“I have been talking a lot about the resources that we now have that we did not have when I first came onto the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball scene. Seeing all the different resources such as a strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist, sports psychologist, and media coverage that we now have, I feel like the sport of wheelchair basketball is getting more of the recognition it deserves and hopefully it will continue to get better.”
Where do you hope the game will be in 5-10 years?
“I hope to see the sport continue to grow with more resources and recognition. I also hope that the sport will expand by people knowing that wheelchair sports are out there for people to play.”
What are some of your fondest Whitewater memories?
“My fondest Whitewater memories include helping start the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team and winning a 3-peat and also just being a part of such a great family. I feel like the Whitewater Wheelchair Basketball Family is unique and you always have ‘old school’ players coming back to visit.”
What are some of your fondest Team USA memories?
“My fondest Team USA memories include being a part of three amazing generations of the team. There was the generation that took me under their wing at the young age of 17 who I won a Gold medal with in 2008. There was my generation who overcame the heartbreak of not winning the Gold medal in 2012 but came back stronger to recapture the Gold medal in 2016. Then there was the young generation that I got to be a part of for a year and I hopefully helped them gain confidence in 2019 to battle the world come 2021 with me being their biggest fan.”
Who was your favourite teammate in your career and why?
“All of my teammates have a special place in my heart and have taught me something throughout my career.”
What life goals do you want to achieve in the next few years?
“The goal I am most focused on right now is buying a condo at the end of this year.”
What needs to be done for these goals to be achieved?
“I need to save more money and stay on track financially.”
What was your style of play?
“My style of play was calm. I think anyone that has seen me play or at least the ones I have gotten to play alongside will tell you that I have this calm persona when I play. I always played my best basketball when I was calm and not thinking about anything.”
Who’s the number 1 player you’ve always idolised throughout your career and why?
“I have looked up to many different players in my career for different reasons.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“If you aren’t happy/having fun, what’s the point? I want to look back on my life and see happiness. That’s the most important thing to me.”
Many people in the wheelchair basketball community believe you’re one of the GOATs of the game, do you believe this too?
“I’m very honoured and humbled when people tell me this but it’s very hard for me to see myself in this way because I definitely look up to so many players that have come before me and I wouldn’t be the player I am today if it wasn’t for those players that I learned from.”
Who are the top 3 players in the world today and why?
“I can’t name the top 3 players because I believe people have different playing styles and they are all great in their own way.”
Who are the top 3 GOATs of wheelchair basketball and why?
“I also can’t name just 3 players because this question is even harder than the previous one. Not only do you have different players with different styles but now you have different eras who played the game differently and they are all amazing athletes that have played the game at different times.”
What would you like to be remembered for?
“I would like to be remembered for being humble. I appreciate the recognition I have received for being a great basketball player, but I would also like to be remembered as the player that treated everyone with kindness and respect both on and off the court. What people remember about my character means the most to me.”
Thanks for your time Becca!
Rollt. would like to thank Becca Murray for the interview.
Becca Murray Profile
Date of Birth: 15/03/1990 (aged 30)
Hometown: Germantown, Wisconsin
Started playing: 1996
Retired: 2020 (from the international level)
USA senior debut: 2007 Parapan American Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Disability: Spina Bifida
Current Clubs: Milwaukee Wheelchair Bucks/Lady Bucks, USA (2014-Present)
_Wheelin’ Wizards, USA (1996-08)
_RIC Sky, USA (2006-08)
_University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks, USA (2008-14)
_2007 NWBA Junior National Championships – Gold (RIC Sky)
_2007 Parapan American Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Gold (USA)
_2008 Paralympic Games – Beijing, China – Gold (USA)
_2010 World Championships – Birmingham, GB – Gold (USA)
_2011 Parapan American Games – Guadalajara, Mexico – Gold (USA)
_2012 NWBA Women’s Colligate National Championships – Gold (Warhawks)
_2012 Paralympic Games – London, GB – 4th (USA)
_2013 NWBA Women’s Colligate National Championships – Gold (Warhawks)
_2014 NWBA Women’s Colligate National Championships – Gold (Warhawks)
_2014 Women’s World Championships – Toronto, Canada – 4th (USA)
_2015 Parapan American Games – Toronto, Canada – Gold (USA)
_2016 NWBA Women’s National Championships – Gold (Lady Bucks)
_2016 Paralympic Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Gold (USA)
_2018 NWBA Women’s National Championships – Gold (Lady Bucks)
_2019 NWBA Women’s National Championships – Gold (Lady Bucks)
_2019 Parapan American Games – Lima, Peru – Silver (USA)
Interview: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Steffie Wunderl