Basketball

Mistake by one leads to opportunities for many on basketball court

Posted September 25, 2013
Updated September 26, 2013

Our hometown spotlight focuses on a man who brought a much needed team to the area.

About a quarter-century ago, Mike Atkins made a mistake. Since then, he has spent nearly every moment making things better for people with serious injuries and disabilities.

As the founder of Triangle Thunder, one of the only wheelchair basketball teams in Eastern North Carolina, Atkins developed a way for people to share their experiences through sport, doing so on the basketball court.

Mistake by one leads to opportunities for many on basketball court Mitchell: Mistake by one leads to opportunities for many

"It's been a huge part of my life and the support network," said Kevin Bailey, a player on the team.

"This is an outlet, adaptive sports for people who are hurt or were born with a disability,” Atkins said of the team he started in 1992. “It is something that is needed."

Atkins wouldn't be as involved without making a mistake in the late 1980’s though. One night, after a few too many drinks, he wrecked his car.

"It was a stupid mistake. I knew better,” Atkins recalled “You've been drinking and you get behind a wheel of a car. What do you expect to happen?"

Left paralyzed from the waist down, Atkins admits to moments of sadness and regret.

"Everyone has that moment where they ask ‘why me?’” Atkins said. “’What did I do to deserve this? What am I going to do now?’"

Atkins’ answer? Do something.

Two decades ago, he saw a need and started this team.

"It was, ‘I screwed up and I'm not going to screw that up again.’”, Bailey said. “I'm going to move forward and move on.”

Twenty-one years later, Triangle Thunder is rolling – and welcoming new players all the time.

"When you get hurt, things change,” said Bailey. “Playing basketball is a reminder to me, it's the same sport I played before. There's a connection with the past. I don't feel disabled for that period of time."

The sport and the team alike serve as reminders to some that good things can still come from poor decisions.

"I keep doing it because I like living, I like breathing,” Atkins said. “It's not just staying positive to me. It's just, this is my life."

2 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • VT1994Hokie Sep 26, 2013

    Great article. And, I really appreciate his courage, confession, and leading a good life while assisting ohters. He is using his expereince to make a difference. Super for him.

  • baldchip Sep 26, 2013

    Mike-thank you for sharing your story. Maybe some one will read this and think twice before starting that car while intoxicated.

    Your confession and story may save lives this very weekend!!

  • Premier League: Leicester vs. Manchester City

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Franklin Templeton Shootout

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: PNC Father/Son Challenge

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Utah at Xavier

    Tomorrow at 5:30 pm on FOX50

  • MLS: Seattle at Toronto

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: PNC Father/Son Challenge

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Dallas at NY Giants

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Army vs. Navy

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State vs. Tennessee State

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at LA Kings

    Tomorrow at 10:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Panthers vs. San Diego

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Top 25
Sat, Dec 10
25
12:00 PT1:00 MT2:00 CT3:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
Men's College Basketball
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET12:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST
Preview
10
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Dec. 8
Oakland13Final
Kansas City21
Sunday, Dec. 11
Pittsburgh 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Buffalo 
San Diego 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Carolina 
Cincinnati 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Cleveland 
Chicago 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Detroit 
Houston 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Indianapolis 
Minnesota 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Jacksonville 
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Miami 
Washington 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Philadelphia 
Denver 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Tennessee 
NY Jets 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET21:05 GMT5:05 北京时间2:05 MST4:05 EST3:05 CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
San Francisco 
Seattle 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Green Bay 
Atlanta 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Los Angeles 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Tampa Bay 
Dallas 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Giants 
Monday, Dec. 12
Baltimore 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
New England 
NBA Scoreboard
Orlando 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Charlotte 
Toronto 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Boston 
Miami 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Cleveland 
Atlanta 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Milwaukee 
Detroit 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Minnesota 
Houston 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Oklahoma City 
Indiana 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Dallas 
Phoenix 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
LA Lakers 
New York 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Sacramento 
NHL Scoreboard
Washington 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Buffalo 
Columbus 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Detroit 
St. Louis 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
New Jersey 
Edmonton 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Minnesota 
NY Rangers 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Chicago 
San Jose 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET3:00 GMT11:00 北京时间8:00 MST10:00 EST7:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Anaheim 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre