Yesterday, American men’s wheelchair basketball player Paul Schulte announced his retirement from the United States men’s national team where he has been a regular fixture. He competed at three Paralympic Games, winning bronze at the 2000 and 2012 Games. His team finished just out of medals in fourth at the 2008 Games. He was part of several American IWBF World Championship teams, winning gold with the team in 1998, silver in 2006 and 2014, and bronze in 2010. Schulte also won a gold medal as part of the 2011 Parapan American Games team. He also played on the American Under-23 side, and assisted them in winning silver at the 1997 IWBF Under 23 World Championship.
NWBA President Sarah Castle is quoted by NWBA as saying of his retirement, “We want to wish you the best in your future endeavors, and we will miss you in the Team USA colors. […] Your contributions to the sport have been numerous. There are many athletes who aspire to be like you. Your leadership and sportsmanship on and off the court is the true essence and the spirit of USA wheelchair basketball. Thank you for your many years.”
United States men’s national team co-captain Steve Serio was quoted as saying, “He is the type of leader I hope to be. […] He is driven and passionate when it comes to his game, while making other players around him better.”
36-year-old Schulte has been involved with wheelchair basketball since he first took up the sport when he was 14-years-old. As a 16-year-old, he assisted his team in winning the NWBA Junior Division Champion. Two years later, while not winning it all, he was named the NWBA Junior Division Champions MVP. He went on to play university ball for the University of Texas-Arlington. In 1999, he was named the 1999 NWBA Collegiate Division MVP. He helped the team win it all at the 2002 National Intercollegiate Championship. The university went on to retire his number 20 jersey. Following university, he then played for the Dallas Mavericks where he continued his winning ways by winning four national championships with the team.
Schulte became paralyzed at the age of ten following a car crash. He has a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is married and has a son. Outside of sport, he works as a design engineer at Invacare Top End, working on wheelchairs to assist others in competing on the elite level or just being the best sportsperson they can be.