ST. GEORGE — Former NBA player and St. George resident Shawn Bradley has announced that he was paralyzed after a bicycling crash in January.
A statement issued through the Dallas Mavericks on behalf of the 48-year-old Bradley was the first public acknowledgement of the incident.
Bradley released the first public details Wednesday of the accident that he suffered on Jan. 20. According to the statement, the 7’6” former NBA player with the Dallas Mavericks was struck from behind by an car while riding his bicycle a block from his home in St. George. The accident caused a traumatic spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. After undergoing neck fusion surgery, Bradley has spent the last eight weeks hospitalized and undergoing rehabilitation.
“We are saddened to hear of Shawn’s accident. Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit,” Dallas 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, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spent two years performing missionary work in Australia after his freshman year at Brigham Young University. Following his mission, Bradley was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as the No. 2 pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, but he spent the majority of his career with the Dallas Mavericks.
“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 reads. “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.”
With his wife Carrie at his side around the clock and supported by a team of rehabilitation specialists and family, Bradley is reportedly in good spirits. He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Shawn’s injury and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family,” Donnie Nelson, president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks, said. “In his eight-plus seasons in Dallas, Shawn 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.”
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.
Bradley asked to convey his deep appreciation for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers he has received from family, friends and fans. He does not plan to issue further public updates, preferring to devote his full concentration on his rehabilitation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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