Ex-NBA star Shawn Bradley paralyzed from waist down after car accident

In this Nov. 22, 1997, file photo, Dallas Mavericks' Shawn Bradley (44) looks to pass as Milwaukee Bucks' Ervin Johnson (40) defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Reunion Arena in Dallas. AP Photo/LM Otero

Former NBA player Shawn Bradley is learning to live with paraplegia after he was struck by a car while riding his bike last January, the Dallas Mavericks revealed this week.

The car came up behind Bradley and hit him “a mere block from his home in St. George, Utah,” the Mavericks said in a statement on Wednesday. The incident happened on Jan. 20 and Bradley has been in hospital ever since.

“The accident caused a traumatic spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed,” the team said.

Bradley, 48, underwent neck fusion surgery after the collision and is currently working through rehabilitation.

The German-American star was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1993 and ultimately played 12 seasons in the league, the majority of which were with Dallas. He retired in 2005, and remains one of the tallest players in the history of the league at a listed height of seven feet, six inches.

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Bradley also appeared in the 1996 film Space Jam as one of the NBA stars who loses his talent to a gang of cartoon monsters.

The Mavericks say Bradley, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is leaning heavily on his faith as he faces a difficult recovery.

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“His very strong sense of faith is being tested as he participates in gruelling physical therapy, and learns how to cope with the challenges of paraplegia,” the Mavericks said. “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.”

Bradley’s wife, Carrie, has been at his side “around the clock,” the Mavericks said. They added that he is in good spirits, and that he plans to use his accident “as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.”

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“We are saddened to hear of Shawn’s accident,” said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in a statement.

“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.”

No details were immediately available about the driver involved in the crash.

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