Former NBA big man Bradley paralyzed after car hits bike

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Former NBA star Shawn Bradley has been paralyzed after being struck from behind by a car while riding a bicycle near his home in January, he revealed Wednesday.

Bradley, who stood 7-foot-6 (2.29m), was the second overall pick behind Chris Webber in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and played 12 NBA seasons, the last eight for the Dallas Mavericks.

While pedaling a block from his home in St. George, Utah, on January 20, Bradley was struck from behind by an automobile, causing a traumatic spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed.

Following neck fusion surgery, Bradley has spent the past eight weeks hospitalized and undergoing rehabilitation.

Bradley, who has US and German citizenship, attended Brigham Young University for a year and spent two years in Australia performing Mormon missionary work before making his NBA debut.

In 12 NBA seasons for the 76ers, New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks, Bradley averaged 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots a game over 832 appearances.

"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."

Bradley is undergoing physical therapy and learning to cope with paraplegia, doctors advising him that the road to recovery will be long and difficult.

His statement says that he remains in good spirits and wants to use his platform to increase public awareness to bicycle safety issues.

"Shawn demonstrated all of the qualities you want in a person representing your organization," Mavericks director of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said.

"He has always exhibited unwavering grit and determination and we are thinking of him at this difficult time."