US wheelchair basketball player Patty Cisneros, also well-known in the German league talked with us about her career, her all-time favorite experiences in basketball and her family.
Patty, you travelled the world for wheelchair basketball. What was the most exciting place you’ve visited and what was special on this place?
One of my favorite memories from my wheelchair basketball years came early in my career. My very FIRST international tournament with the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team was the 1999 ParaPan American Games in Mexico City, Mexico. My father traveled to see his family in Mexico and watch me play. It was a special experience to share with him.
You have been very successful with the sport. Amongst other medals you’ve won two times Paralympics gold (2008 in Beijing and 2004 in Athens). What was the most important tournament for you and which medal means the most for you?
Both were amazing, but my favorite is the 2004 Athens gold medal. We had finally turned the page with the USA/Canada rivalry. We were very focused and beat them in the semifinal game. It was a huge victory for us. We came determined to win those Games and we did, beating Australia in the gold medal game.
Are you still playing or coaching any teams? If you do so, which one?
Last season was my final year playing. I played for the Los Angeles-based Shield Maidens, a women’s wheelchair basketball team. We lost the championship game in overtime by 1 point. It was a great season, and I had a lot of fun with a new team.
I now coach the women’s wheelchair basketball team in Denver, CO. We are excited for the upcoming season. We have not had a women’s team in Colorado for three years.
You also played for RSV Lahn-Dill in Germany. How has it been for you to play there?
I absolutely LOVED my time with RSV Lahn-Dill. It is one of my all-time favorite basketball experiences. Everything from the management, to the fan club, to my amazing teammates and their families, made the experience so much fun and memorable. Not to mention, we went undefeated and won three championship cups, including Champions Cup. It was one of the best times of my life.
Are you still following the development of the German league? What do you think about that?
I do follow the German league and like to keep track of the American players and my old teammates. RSV Lahn-Dill has a strong team with Mikey, Hiro, Brian, and Tommy.
One last question besides basketball. What are you doing for fun and for your personal fitness?
I am currently training for my first marathon. I will push the Rock & Roll Marathon Series in Phoenix, AZ on January 20, 2019. It’s a great way to start the new year! And I now have two young girls, Elliana (6) and Nyah (3), and I love them with my whole heart and soul. They are so much fun!
Thank you for your time, Patty!
Interview: Annika Aul | Photo: MEDIASHOTS