Shawn Bradley: Mormon Athlete
Shawn Paul Bradley is a retired American professional basketball player. He also played on a German national basketball team that finished fourth in EuroBasket 2001.
He was born on March 22, 1972, in Landstuhl, West Germany, and was raised in Castle Dale, Utah. During his high school years, he was named All-State three times and earned the season MVP award twice. He was named MVP for the West team during the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Many colleges recruited him, but he selected Brigham Young University. Bradley enjoyed a successful freshman year and collected several awards and honors. He was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, in addition to All-WAC defensive team and newcomer team honors. The Associated Press named him Honorable Mention All-American. After the end of the season, he left school to serve as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member. After his mission to Australia, he decided to enter the 1993 NBA Draft.
At 7 foot 6 inches, 235 pounds, he was controversial. Some felt that he lacked experience and was too thin. Others felt that he would dominate the league with his height and athleticism. He was the second overall pick and began his professional career in 1993 playing center for the Philadelphia 76ers. Into his third season, the 76ers traded him to the New Jersey Nets because of his inconsistent play. In 1996, the Nets traded him to the Dallas Mavericks where he remained until his retirement in 2005. He finished his career with averages of 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in 23.5 minutes of action per game.
Bradley has had a successful career as vice-principal, counselor, and coach at a private school for at-risk adolescents. In 2010, he had an unsuccessful run for a seat in the Utah House of Representatives. He appeared in a few films and shows, including Space Jam and The Singles Ward, and television episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger and Studio C.
He participated in charitable projects such as Bryan’s House, Basketball Without Borders, and Rising Star Outreach.
Bradley married Annette Evertson in 1993 and they are the parents of four daughters and two sons. They divorced sometime before 2017. He and his wife, Carrie, and her three children—whom he adopted—live in St. George, Utah, although they are going to relocate to Dallas, Texas.
In March 2021, he released a statement through the Dallas Mavericks organization that he had been struck by a car while riding his bicycle on January 20 and had been paralyzed. In part it said, "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."
Bradley was diagnosed as a C6 quadriplegic. "With Bradley’s type of spinal cord injury comes a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, fatal blood clots, gastrointestinal issues, chronic pain and pressure ulcers, from the many hours he’ll spend moored to beds and chairs. Based on this alone, his life expectancy would be roughly three-quarters that of an otherwise healthy man his age. For Bradley, though, many of these concerns are exacerbated by his extreme height, which studies have shown to shorten lifespan and increase risk for cardiovascular issues. 'His size adds a bigger complexity,' says Philip Lamoreaux, Bradley’s occupational therapist at St. George. And it is going to “affect his ability to participate in life as he gets older.” Bradley functions in a motorized, 500-pound wheelchair. He is now able to feed himself with special utensils.
In 2022, Shawn and Carrie Bradley's experience was featured on KSL TV’s, “Up Close with Shawn Bradley.” Shawn is also the focus of KSL TV's “Strangely Grateful,” which was shown on Sunday, Oct. 2nd at noon, just after the morning session of general conference and on the KSL app.