David Kiley was raised in Costa Mesa, California, and came to love basketball early in life. Kiley played with his father and quickly began dreaming about playing at UCLA and then with the Lakers.
In fourth grade, Kiley was hit by a pickup truck while riding his bike to school. The bones in his knees were shattered. After surgery and dealing with arthritis and pain, Kiley returned to basketball, starting at point guard in high school. Kiley attracted attention from colleges, including Gonzaga.
Soon after, Kiley sustained a spinal cord injury while inner tubing in the Southern California mountains at Big Bear. While in rehab, wheelchair basketball legend Ed Owen, came into Kiley’s room to talk about the sport. Although initially suspicious, and dreaming of walking again someday, Kiley started his wheelchair basketball journey. He practiced on outdoor beach courts and made the U.S. national team just two years later.
He competed at the 1976 Paralympic Games in Toronto in wheelchair basketball and track and field, winning the gold in wheelchair basketball and four gold medals on the track.
Kiley would go on to compete at five additional Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball, track and field, and alpine skiing. He won a total of 13 Paralympic medals, including nine gold. Kiley coached Team USA’s wheelchair basketball team in three additional Games and served as the National Wheelchair Basketball Association commissioner and president.
For nearly two decades, Kiley has run successful three-on-three wheelchair basketball tournaments. He was the first wheelchair athlete to appear in Sports Illustrated. In 2022, David Kiley was inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.