Shawn Bradley, one of NBA's tallest ever players, paralyzed after bike accident
Shawn Bradley, who played 12 NBA seasons and was one of the league’s tallest players in history, suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury in a January bicycle accident that has left him paralyzed. Bradley, who turns 49 next week, said in a statement released through the Dallas Mavericks that he was struck from behind by an automobile while riding his bicycle on 20 January near his home in St George, Utah.
“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 read. “Doctors have advised him that his road to recovery will be both long and arduous.
The 7ft 6in center rose to fame after he was chosen with the No 2 overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1993 NBA draft. After a two-year stint with the New Jersey Nets, he spent the final nine seasons of his career with Dallas.
Bradley led the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game in 1996-97 and is one of just 21 players to reach 2,000 career blocks (2,119). In 1996, he co-starred alongside Michael Jordan in the cult favorite film Space Jam.
“We are saddened to hear of Shawn’s accident,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit. We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery. He will always be a part of our Mavs family.”
Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said Bradley “demonstrated all of the qualities you want in a person representing your organization”.
“He has always exhibited unwavering grit and determination and we are thinking of him at this difficult time. He is a Maverick for life,” Nelson added.
With the support of his wife, Carrie, Bradley “is in good spirits” and plans to use his accident as a platform to promote bicycle safety awareness.
“Bradley asked to convey his deep appreciation for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers he has received from family, friends and fans,” the statement read. “... He does not plan to issue further public updates, preferring to devote his full concentration on his rehabilitation.”
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