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Representing Canada in Court – Our Communities

Representing Canada in Court – Our Communities

East St. Paul

When opportunity knocks, Joshua Brown answers.

Brown, 23, grew up in East St. Paul and graduated from Miles McDonnell College in 2018. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy early in life, Brown has remained an active young man who loves sports. When the opportunity arose to try out for the provincial wheelchair basketball team to compete in the Canada Games in Prince George, British Columbia in 2015, Brown went for it. He hasn't looked back since and is now a member of Canada's national under-23 team.

“I love playing,” Brown said. “I've never been so happy before, and I've seen it give a lot of people happiness – being on the field, moving the way you want.”

Image provided

Josh Brown, of East St. Paul, is a member of the Canadian Under-23 men's wheelchair basketball team.

Besides the freedom to move around the court, the teamwork of wheelchair basketball is one of the reasons Brown is passionate about the sport.

“It's like a game of chess,” he added. “Everyone has their job. It's important to know your role and your abilities. If everyone is working for your team, you're more successful. If you have five people who are closely connected, then you've achieved success. For kids growing up, it's a really good sport. You learn a lot About yourself, and how to communicate and work with people. You have to be willing to listen.

Brown represented Team Manitoba at the 2019 and 2023 Canada Games as well. He is also a sophomore at Southern Minnesota State University, where he plays for the Mustangs' wheelchair basketball team. He appeared in 17 games in 20s2-23, when he averaged 16.4 points per game, had a 48.5 shooting percentage from the field, averaged 7.9 rebounds per game and 4.5 assists per game, and also recorded 13 steals and blocked three shots.

“I've had a lot of opportunities to coach with a lot of teams,” Brown said while preparing to travel to Arizona for the Mustangs' final regular-season tournament of the year. “It's a struggle (to balance everything). I took four years off after high school to coach in Toronto. So going back to school was a challenge, but I had a lot of support from my family. I never expected them to be so helpful and supportive. My coaches understand things.” “Really with the school. My teachers too. It was great.”

Later this month, SMSU will host the Men's Wheelchair Intercollegiate Basketball National Championship. Brown will then reconnect with the U23 national team to continue training during the off-season. Brown credits Canadian national and Manitoba provincial coach Joey Johnson with providing opportunities for young players like him to excel.

Submitted photo Josh Brown, of East St. Paul, is a member of the Canadian Under-23 men's wheelchair basketball team.

Image provided

Josh Brown, of East St. Paul, is a member of the Canadian Under-23 men's wheelchair basketball team.

“He's been working hard to get the (regional) program going again,” Brown said. “If people are interested, it's a really fun game. Everyone should try it. Even if you're physically able, you can try. Visit the Sports for Life Center and we'll find you a chair.”

Sheldon Bernie

Sheldon Bernie
Community journalist

Sheldon Burney is also a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in magazines and online platforms across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Sheldon is a husband and father of two young children, and enjoys playing guitar and playing hockey when he can find the time. Email him at [email protected] Call him at 204-697-7112

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