Former NBA player Shawn Bradley disclosed Wednesday that he was paralyzed two months ago when he was struck from behind by a vehicle while riding a bike near his Utah home.
The statement issued through the Dallas Mavericks on behalf of the 48-year-old Bradley was the first public acknowledgement of the incident involving the second overall pick in the 1993 draft by Philadelphia.
The 7-foot-6 Bradley was riding his bike about a block from his home in St. George, Utah, on Jan. 20, when he was struck, causing a traumatic spinal cord injury, the statement said. Bradley has been hospitalized since the accident, undergoing neck fusion surgery and rehabilitation.
“With his wife Carrie at his side around the clock, and supported by an amazing team of rehabilitation specialists and family, Bradley is in good spirits,” the statement said. “He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.”
Bradley, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, played one season at BYU in 1990-91 before doing two years of missionary work in Australia. Bradley was drafted after he returned.
“His very strong sense of faith is being tested as he participates in grueling physical therapy and learns how to cope with the challenges of paraplegia,” the statement said. “Doctors have advised him that his road to recovery will be both long and arduous, perhaps an even more difficult physical challenge than playing professional basketball.”
Bradley spent the last eight-plus seasons of his 12-year career with the Mavericks, who acquired him as part of a nine-player trade with the New Jersey Nets in 1997. Two years earlier, the 76ers had traded Bradley to the Nets.
Bradley averaged at least three blocks per game in each of his first six seasons, including an NBA-best 3.4 the season he was traded to Dallas. Bradley's career averages were 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
“Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery. He will always be a part of our Mavs family.”
Bradley averaged 5.2 blocks as a freshman at BYU while scoring 14.8 points per game. The Cougars lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.