Former Dallas Mavericks Player Shawn Bradley Paralyzed in Bicycle Accident

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Shawn Bradley
Shawn Bradley

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Shawn Bradley

Shawn Bradley, a former NBA center who spent 12 seasons in the league, has been paralyzed, his former team the Dallas Mavericks confirmed in a press release.

Bradley, 48, was injured while riding his bicycle on Jan. 20 a block from his home in St. George, Utah. The former athlete — one of the tallest players in NBA history at 7-foot, 6-inches — was struck from behind by an automobile, the Mavericks said.

The accident caused a traumatic spinal cord injury, ultimately leaving Bradley paralyzed. He was hospitalized for eight weeks after undergoing neck fusion surgery and subsequent rehabilitation, the team said.

Bradley was drafted out of Brigham Young University in 1993, going as the number two pick in the draft to the Philadelphia 76ers. He joined the Mavericks in 1997, and spent the majority of his career with the Texas franchise.

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Noting Bradley's Mormon faith, the Mavericks 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 still remains "in good spirits," the team said, with his wife by his side and the support of rehabilitation specialists.

"Bradley asked to convey his deep appreciation for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers he has received from family, friends and fans," the Mavericks said. "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."

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The former athlete also hopes to use his injury as a means to eventually promote bicycle safety.

In a statement issued in conjunction with the release, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he was "saddened to hear of Shawn's accident."

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"Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit," he said. "We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery. He will always be a part of our Mavs family."