You could say that Shawn Bradley has had a lackluster career considering he was picked as the 2nd overall in his draft class. These days, however, he’s been finding himself back in the news for an inspiring story. So, what happened to Shawn Bradley?
Overview of his NBA Career
Although he stood at 7’6″ and weighed about 100 kg, the towering center played basketball with an unassuming grace that belied his size and physical power. The 76ers drafted Bradley in 1993 as the second overall pick, but unlike most players with a high draft pick, he spent most of his career as a backup.
While no analyst or NBA coach would call him one of the very best centers to play the game, he was a good player who contributed significantly to his team’s success. And there are games when he would show exactly what he’s capable of, especially in that historic outing where he scored 22 points, 22 rebounds, and 13 blocks in one game. He’s only the fifth player in the history of the NBA to do so.
However, Bradley was expected to be a dominant force every night. The 76ers even acquired 19-year veteran Moses Malone to show him some effective post moves and a team of coaches and dieticians to help him bulk up.
Unfortunately, the Shawn Bradley project would not be fruitful, and the 76ers would decide to abandon the plans they had for the tall center and send him to the Nets for Derrick Coleman.
He would play good basketball for the Nets, but it wouldn’t be enough for the New Jersey squad to keep him long-term. They would end up trading the towering player to the Dallas Mavericks, where he would play as a backup and spend the rest of his career as a benchwarmer.
Retirement from Professional Basketball
These days, most people would categorize Bradley as a draft bust. But the numbers speak for themselves. In the first five years of his career, Shawn Bradley stats read as: 13.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and a whopping 4.1 blocks. He’s even the top nine all-time shot blockers with 2.5 blocks per game for his 12-year career. These are All-Star-caliber stats in any NBA era. Unfortunately, teams and fans expected much more from him.
His numbers only dwindled at the tail-end of his career when teams started to use him more as a backup center. So, he ended up with mediocre career averages of 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks.
So, with injuries threatening to end his career early and teams realizing they could get by without a shot-blocking center, Bradley decided to call it quits and negotiated a contract buyout with Mavs owner Mark Cuban. He enjoyed a long 12-year career in the world’s number-one basketball league.
Post Retirement Career
There wasn’t much need for Bradley to work after his NBA stint. Published sources estimate his career earnings at $69 million and his current net worth at around $27 million. And for his lifestyle, this is already enough to live off on for the rest of his and his family’s lifetimes.
Counselor and Politician
So, he spent his retirement life mostly giving back to the community in his home state of Utah. He also got involved with the West Ridge Academy, where he coached basketball and served as a counselor to at-risk youth.
He also ran as representative for Utah’s House of Representatives in 2019 – a political run in which he inevitably lost.
The Shawn Bradley Accident
Unfortunately, as he was enjoying his retirement, Shawn Bradley got into a bicycle accident in January 2021. He was riding his bicycle to keep fit when a hurrying Dodge minivan driver violently struck him from behind. Reports say she was in a rush to pick up her child from school.
He suffered from a spinal injury that left him quadriplegic. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery and spent several weeks in recovery. Despite his current condition, Shawn Bradley has a positive outlook on life and is thankful for having his family by his side.
Shawn Bradley’s Life After the Accident
Doctors say that Shawn may not ever be able to walk again. He is currently paralyzed from the neck down. He is still in a wheelchair and will likely be for the rest of his life. Doctors say that he may regain some movement over time, but they cannot predict how much or when it will happen.
His condition is further exacerbated by his height which, as he described, serves as a “hindrance” to recovery and day-to-day life.
Fortunately, there’s a bright side to Shawn Bradley’s condition. He has a loving wife and beautiful children who are there to help him through this difficult time. Shawn Bradley is also a religious man, which helps him cope with his current situation.
And with their help, Shawn has already recovered some mobility in his upper extremities. And after battling mental health issues stemming from the accident, he eventually ended up coming to grips with his situation with renewed faith and confidence in himself.
He’s also become a very optimistic man. He recognizes that there are many others in the world who have it much worse than him, and he tries to bring happiness to those around him. Despite all of his hardships, Shawn has managed to find happiness and keep a positive attitude through hard work.
He’s been appearing in talk shows and other media outlets to share his story and show people that it’s possible to come back from a devastating accident like this. Shawn is a true inspiration for anyone struggling with their own setbacks.
Wrapping Things Up: What Happened to Shawn Bradley?
In a way, Shawn Bradley has quietly proven that he was worth the high draft pick. He wasn’t the most talented player, but he certainly worked hard enough to stay relevant in the NBA for a long time.
He was a promising NBA player who led a good career and retired as one of the best shot blockers the league has ever seen. He was a solid player offensive player capable of scoring 20+ points when the team needed it.
He retired as a 12-year veteran, already feeling the wear and tear on his body from the years of battling with basketball’s greatest big men like Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson.
Upon retirement, he was able to pursue his other passions as a member of the community. He also participated in charitable causes such as Basketball Beyond Borders and was a great example for young people in Utah.
However, he won’t be able to ride off into the sunset just yet, as fate has more for the former NBA great. He got into a bicycle accident that left him unable to move any of his limbs.
With the help of his family and friends, he was able to recover and regain some mobility in his upper extremities, but he still has a long way to go.
But despite all the career disappointments and post-career troubles, the former NBA great has remained positive and optimistic about life. As a former athlete and role model, he understands the importance of staying positive and looking for the best in every situation.
If you’re looking for more Shawn Bradley updates, you’ll find him making the rounds on TV and media to help give people in a similar situation some hope that things will get better. Much like how he quietly worked in his NBA career, he still quietly works his way through recovery. And because of it, he is still a huge inspiration to many people who look up to him, including people who have suffered the same fate and other adversities.
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