Shawn Bradley, the former NBA player who appeared in the original “Space Jam” movie, has been left paralyzed after a January bicycle accident that occurred just one block from his Utah home.
Bradley, who is 7-foot-6, was hit by a car while riding his bike. The accident caused “a traumatic spinal cord injury.” After undergoing neck fusion surgery, Bradley has spent the past eight weeks in a hospital.
In a joint statement from Bradley and his former (main) NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, the BYU alum was said to be “in good spirits.” The statement continued: “He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.”
Below is the full statement.
Shawn Bradley released the first public details today of the accident that he suffered on January 20, 2021. Bradley, the 7’6” former NBA player with the Dallas Mavericks, was struck from behind by an automobile while riding his bicycle a mere block from his home in St. George, Utah. 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.
Bradley, a devout 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 number two 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. 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 an amazing team of rehabilitation specialists and family, Bradley is in good spirits. He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.
Bradley asked to convey his deep appreciation for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers he has received from family, friends and fans. Their support has energized his recovery and bolstered his confidence that he will manage the long process ahead successfully. He does not plan to issue further public updates, preferring to devote his full concentration on his rehabilitation.
“We are saddened to hear of Shawn’s accident,” Dallas 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.”
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Shawn’s injury and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family,” his coach Donnie Nelson 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, who was the No. 2 overall pick in 1993 behind Chris Webber, played in the NBA for 12 seasons across three teams: the Mavericks, the (then) New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.
In 1996’s “Space Jam,” the Nerdlucks (the bad guys) stole the abilities of Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues in an attempt to defeat Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Tune Squad (the good guys).
A “Space Jam” sequel, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” starring LeBron James, is scheduled for a theatrical and HBO Max joint release on July 16, 2021.