Shawn Paul Bradley (born March 22, 1972) is a German-American former professional basketball player who played center for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed "the Stormin' Mormon",[1] Bradley is one of the tallest players in NBA history at 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m). Bradley was born in Landstuhl, West Germany, as his family was stationed at the U.S. military base medical facility, and grew up in Castle Dale, Utah.[2][3] He holds citizenship in both the United States and Germany.[4][5]

Shawn Bradley
Bradley in 2008
Personal information
Born (1972-03-22) March 22, 1972 (age 51)
Landstuhl, West Germany
NationalityGerman / American
Listed height7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Listed weight275 lb (125 kg)
Career information
High schoolEmery (Castle Dale, Utah)
CollegeBYU (1990–1991)
NBA draft1993: 1st round, 2nd overall pick
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career1993–2005
Number76, 45, 44
Career history
19931995Philadelphia 76ers
19951997New Jersey Nets
19972005Dallas Mavericks
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points6,752 (8.1 ppg)
Rebounds5,268 (6.3 rpg)
Blocks2,119 (2.5 bpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

Early life edit

Shawn Bradley was born on March 22, 1972, in Landstuhl, West Germany, where his father was working at a U.S. military hospital. Bradley came from a tall family: his father Reiner Bradley (1949–2010) was 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall, and his mother Teresa was 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m).[6] Bradley was already 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) by the end of junior high school (age 13–14), and by the end of his junior year of high school (age 16–17) he had grown to 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m), one inch shy of his adult height of 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m).[7] In 2018, genetic analysis of Bradley's DNA showed that his great height is not the result of any physical or genetic disorders, but because he happened to inherit a natural but extremely rare combination of the thousands of genetic variants that determine human height.[8]

Bradley was raised on a farm outside the small town of Castle Dale, Utah.[7] He and his siblings were raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Bradley was a standout basketball, football, and baseball player at Emery High School from 1987 to 1990. He was one of the most successful basketball players in Utah high school history, finishing with career averages of 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.4 blocked shots per game.[9] During his time at the school, Emery compiled a 68–4 record and won two state championships. Bradley was named All-State three times and twice earned the season MVP award. In his senior year, he averaged 25 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 blocks per contest. He was named All-American by several national publications, including Parade Magazine, Street and Smith, USA Today, and others. He turned in a strong performance at the McDonald's All-American Game (12 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks), earning the Most Valuable Player award for the West team. As of 2015, Bradley still holds Utah state records for blocked shots in a single game (18), season (209), and career (605).[10]

College career and LDS mission edit

Bradley was heavily recruited by many colleges from across the United States, but ultimately decided to play at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. During his freshman season (1990–91), he started all 34 games for BYU, averaging 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. But his main contribution to the team was shot-blocking: he led the entire nation in total blocks (177) and average (5.2 per game)—setting an NCAA freshman record in both categories.[11] In one game against Eastern Kentucky (EKU), Bradley blocked 14 shots, tying the NCAA single-game record set by Navy's David Robinson in 1986. In that same game, Bradley also established a new career high by scoring 29 points.[12]

BYU received a bid to the NCAA tournament that season, and Bradley continued his dominant defense. In the first-round game against Virginia, he set a tournament single-game record with 10 blocked shots, leading the Cougars to a 61–48 victory.[13] However, he struggled with foul trouble in the second round, and BYU lost to Arizona, 76–61.[14] Bradley collected several awards and honors for his outstanding freshman season. He was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Freshman of the Year, in addition to All-WAC defensive team and newcomer team honors. He was also named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press (AP)[15]

Bradley took a two-year leave of absence from BYU from 1991 to 1993 to serve as a full-time missionary for the LDS Church. He was assigned to serve in Sydney, Australia. After his mission, Bradley decided to forgo his final three years of NCAA eligibility and declared for the NBA draft.

Professional career edit

Philadelphia 76ers (1993–1995) edit

Bradley entered the 1993 NBA draft as one of the most intriguing and highly debated prospects in the history of the NBA draft. Supporters claimed his tremendous size and surprising athleticism would allow him to dominate the league. Critics argued that he would struggle in the NBA due to his thin build – listed at just 235 pounds (107 kg), he was described by Ric Bucher of The Miami Herald as "rail-thin," and Lee Rose, player personnel director for the Milwaukee Bucks at the time, said, "Size-wise, he'll get pushed around a little bit,"[16] – and lack of experience (just one season of college basketball, followed by a two-year hiatus from the sport due to his church mission).[17] Ultimately, he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the second overall pick, behind Chris Webber and ahead of Penny Hardaway. Given the novelty of a 7-foot-6 center playing for the 76ers, Bradley was issued jersey number 76.

Philadelphia's management saw Bradley as a major project with huge long-term potential. The team acquired legendary big man Moses Malone to serve as a mentor for Bradley, hoping to develop his skills in the low post.[18] Also, the franchise hired strength and conditioning consultant Pat Croce and registered dietitian Jeanie Subach, as well as assistant coach Jeff Ruland, to add bulk to Bradley's skinny frame.[19] His rookie season (1993–94) produced mixed results. In his first game, Bradley totaled just 6 points and 5 rebounds, but he did manage to block 8 shots in 25 minutes.[20]

For much of his career, Bradley was inconsistent in scoring and rebounding, but he always excelled at blocking shots. He averaged 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game in his first season – good enough to earn NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors. He shot 40.9 percent from the floor and constantly struggled with turnovers and foul trouble. He suffered a season-ending injury in February of that year, dislocating his kneecap in a collision with Portland's Harvey Grant.[21]

Bradley returned to full strength in his second season, playing in all 82 games for the 76ers. His scoring actually declined slightly (9.5 points per game), but his rebounding and shot-blocking increased. He racked up 274 rejections, setting a franchise record for most blocks in a single season. Bradley gave Philly fans a glimpse of his potential in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in November, posting career highs of 28 points and 22 rebounds in a 97–83 victory. He also tied a career high with 9 blocked shots, and was credited with 9 additional "intimidations" as the Clippers were held to their lowest-ever point total against the 76ers.[22] He finished the season in strong fashion, posting 13 double-doubles in his last 17 games.

New Jersey Nets (1995–1997) edit

Despite these highlights, Bradley continued to baffle and frustrate Philadelphia with his inconsistent play. Just 12 games into his third season (1995–96), the 76ers traded Bradley to the New Jersey Nets for Derrick Coleman. He played the final 67 games of the year with the Nets, and tantalized Nets fans with some strong play in the second half of the season. In February, he dominated a match-up against fellow giant Gheorghe Mureșan, leading the Nets to a 99–81 victory against the Washington Bullets. Bradley scored a season-high 27 points over the 7-foot-7 Mureşan, and also added 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.[23]

Bradley lifted his game to new levels in March 1996. He posted a career-high 32 points and added 15 rebounds against Dallas early in the month,[24] and set another career high a week later with 10 blocked shots against the Phoenix Suns. He recorded his first career triple-double in the very next game, tallying 19 points, 17 rebounds, and a career-best 11 blocked shots in another match-up against Mureşan and the Bullets. In April, Bradley posted back-to-back triple-doubles (against Boston and Toronto); in the process, he became the first player in NBA history to record consecutive games of double-figure blocked shots twice in a single season.[25] His season averages for 1995–96 were 11.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game[26]—all career highs.

The Nets began the 1996–97 season under new management: John Calipari was named head coach in the off-season, and John Nash replaced Willis Reed as general manager. Reed had been a big believer in Bradley, but Calipari and Nash weren't nearly as excited about the 7-foot-6 enigma. In an effort to save some cash against the salary cap, the Nets traded their big center (and his big contract) to the Dallas Mavericks in a blockbuster mid-season deal that involved nine players.[27]

Dallas Mavericks (1997–2005) edit

Bradley (left) with the Mavericks in 2005

Bradley embraced yet another "fresh start" with a new franchise. With increased playing time in Dallas, Bradley posted some of the best numbers of his career. In a game against the Clippers, he tied his career high by scoring 32 points—the most ever by a center in the history of the Mavericks franchise. He also added a season-high 16 rebounds in that same contest. He finished the year with averages of 13.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game—breaking career highs set during the previous season. But most importantly, Bradley provided strong defense in the paint that Dallas had been lacking before his arrival. In fact, Bradley finished the year as the top shot-blocker in the entire league, averaging 3.4 swats per contest. It was the first time any Mavericks player had ever led the NBA in any statistical category.

And yet, Bradley continued to be plagued by the maddening inconsistency that defined his entire professional career. During the 1997–98 season, Dallas coach Jim Cleamons experimented by bringing Bradley off the bench in several games (instead of his usual role as starter). In one particular game, it paid off in a major way: Bradley totaled 22 points, 22 rebounds, and a career-high 13 blocked shots in an April contest against the Trail Blazers. Bradley became the fifth NBA player to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 blocks in a single game, and the first to do so off the bench.[11] The previous players to record a 20–20–10 game with points, rebounds, and blocks were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Shaquille O'Neal. Bradley finished the year with a team-record 214 blocked shots; his average of 3.3 per game ranked third in the NBA.

Bradley played 7 more seasons in the league, remaining with the Mavericks until his retirement in 2005. Over that span, his playing time slowly declined, mainly due to some injuries and constant juggling of the team's lineups and rotations by coach Don Nelson. In particular, Bradley's offensive role became very limited, but he remained an imposing defensive presence. In fact, in the 2000–01 season, he broke his own team record by blocking 228 shots for Dallas—the highest total in the NBA that year. The Mavericks emerged as a perennial playoff contender, mostly due to the rise of star players such as Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, but Bradley's defense made a significant contribution. 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. [28]

National team career edit

Bradley has competed internationally for Germany; he and Dallas teammate Dirk Nowitzki were members of the German national basketball team that finished in fourth place at the EuroBasket 2001 in Turkey. In order to participate in this tournament, Bradley made use of his birth by a German mother to obtain German citizenship.[29]

Post-basketball career edit

After his retirement as a player, Bradley became involved with West Ridge Academy, a coeducational private school for at-risk youths in West Jordan, Utah. Bradley's role with the school involves some of the functions of a vice principal, counselor, and coach. Describing Bradley, school executive director Ken Allen said, "Shawn has a great presence—due to his size—and has immediate credibility with the kids. His instant credibility when he's talking to kids makes him an incredible mentor. He is a great example of someone who has worked hard and been very successful. Being so tall wasn't always easy for him. He knows about being the 'odd kid' and dealing with that."[30]

On March 19, 2010, Bradley filed papers to run as a Republican against incumbent Democratic Representative Tim Cosgrove for the 44th District seat in the Utah House of Representatives.[31][32] On November 2, 2010, Bradley lost the election to Cosgrove, earning 46.49% of the vote against Cosgrove's 51.13%.[33]

Personal life edit

Bradley has participated in many charitable endeavors. In the 2000–01 season he donated $25 for each blocked shot to Bryan's House, a managed facility for children affected by HIV and AIDS. He is a national spokesman for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.[25][34] Bradley has also participated in the "Basketball Without Borders" program with other NBA players like Dikembe Mutombo, DeSagana Diop and Malik Rose and found his experiences with children in Africa uplifting.[35] He has also participated in treating leprosy colonies in India through the Rising Star Outreach.[36]

While in the NBA, Bradley was fined for refusing to attend a mandatory meeting at a strip club, due to his religious beliefs.[37]

Bradley and his first wife, Annette Evertson, had six children together. They later divorced, and in 2017, Bradley married Carrie Cannon, adopting her three children in 2019.[38]

On January 20, 2021, Bradley was struck from behind by a motorist while riding his bicycle near his home in St. George, Utah, which resulted in a traumatic spinal cord injury in his neck that left him paralyzed.[39] A driver attempted to pass Bradley on the left in the same travel lane while Bradley himself was in the process of passing another car parked on the shoulder of the road.

In a 2022 interview with Sports Illustrated, Bradley stated that he and his family intend to move into a more wheelchair-friendly home in Dallas, Texas, while he continues his rehabilitation. Bradley described his height as a "hindrance" to his recovery, as quadriplegia at his height has no medical precedent.[38]

TV and movie appearances edit

Bradley had a role in the film Space Jam in 1996,[40] depicted as one of the NBA stars who lose their talent alongside Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing. He also appeared as himself in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger,[40] and had a cameo appearance as an auto mechanic in The Singles Ward movie.[40] In 2011, he appeared in a music video tribute to Jimmer Fredette, along with former BYU football star Chad Lewis and legendary coach LaVell Edwards.[41] He has also appeared in an episode of Studio C.[42]

Bradley was featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 short documentary "Posterized" given his propensity "for being on the wrong end of a lot of great dunks."[43]

NBA career statistics edit

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 *  Led the league

Regular season edit

1993–94 Philadelphia 49 45 28.3 .409 .000 .607 6.2 2.0 0.9 3.0 10.3
1994–95 Philadelphia 82* 59 28.8 .455 .000 .638 8.0 0.6 0.7 3.3 9.5
1995–96 Philadelphia 12 11 27.8 .443 .000 .760 8.8 0.7 0.7 3.2 8.8
1995–96 New Jersey 67 57 29.8 .443 .250 .679 7.9 0.8 0.6 3.7 12.5
1996–97 New Jersey 40 38 30.7 .436 .000 .664 8.1 0.5 0.6 4.0* 12.0
1996–97 Dallas 33 32 32.1 .461 .000 .642 8.7 1.0 0.5 2.7 14.6
1997–98 Dallas 64 46 28.5 .422 .333 .722 8.1 0.9 0.8 3.3 11.4
1998–99 Dallas 49 33 26.4 .480 .000 .748 8.0 0.8 0.7 3.2 8.6
1999–00 Dallas 77 54 24.7 .479 .200 .765 6.5 0.8 0.9 2.5 8.4
2000–01 Dallas 82 35 24.4 .490 .167 .787 7.4 0.5 0.4 2.8 7.1
2001–02 Dallas 53 16 14.3 .479 .000 .922 3.3 0.4 0.5 1.2 4.1
2002–03 Dallas 81 39 21.4 .536 .000 .806 5.9 0.7 0.8 2.1 6.7
2003–04 Dallas 66 5 11.7 .473 .000 .837 2.6 0.3 0.5 1.1 3.3
2004–05 Dallas 77 14 11.5 .452 .000 .683 2.8 0.2 0.3 0.8 2.7
Career 832 484 23.5 .457 .103 .716 6.3 0.7 0.6 2.5 8.1

Playoffs edit

2000–01 Dallas 10 10 25.6 .529 .000 .769 7.1 0.5 0.4 3.9 6.4
2001–02 Dallas 7 0 3.6 .500 .000 .000 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.9
2002–03 Dallas 17 7 14.5 .400 .000 .750 3.8 0.3 0.2 0.8 2.9
2003–04 Dallas 2 0 1.5 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2004–05 Dallas 7 0 3.9 .667 .000 .500 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.3
Career 43 17 13.0 .478 .000 .741 3.4 0.2 0.2 1.1 3.0

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Shawn Bradley". Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Gomez, Eric (January 9, 2009). "The Worst NBA Player Nicknames of All Time". Bleacher Report.
  3. ^ "Basketball Reference". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  4. ^ John Rosenthal (August 14, 2008). "A New German? Olympian Chris Kaman and German Nationality". World Politics Review. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Scott Taylor (June 5, 2001). "Bradley to Germany?". Deseret News. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Strauss, Robert (November 14, 1993). "Long, Tall Bradley". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Berkowitz, Steve (June 25, 1993). "A Tall Order for the NBA". Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  8. ^ Cohen, Ben (September 18, 2018). "Shawn Bradley Is Really, Really Tall. But Why?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  9. ^ "All-Time Roster".
  10. ^ "Utah High School Sports Records". Deseret News.
  11. ^ a b "". National Basketball Association.
  12. ^ "Shawn Bradley Athlete Profile".
  13. ^ Sorensen, Mike. "#7 – 1991 — BRADLEY BLOCKS OUT VIRGINIA – Top 10 tournament performances by local players". Deseret News.
  14. ^ "Brigham Young vs. Arizona Box Score, March 16, 1991". Sports Reference. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  15. ^ Call, Jeff; Detmer, Ty (September 1, 2017). 100 Things BYU Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. ISBN 978-1-63319-878-4. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  16. ^ Bucher, Ric (May 23, 1993). "NBA wonders: Who's No. 1 in this draft?". Sports. The Miami Herald. p. 3D. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  17. ^ "BYU'S Bradley Now Down Under for LDS Mission". Deseret News. June 26, 1991. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  18. ^ Moses Malone – 11.08.93 – SI Vault
  19. ^ "7,000-Calorie Diet Just Wasn't Right for Bradley". Deseret News. June 4, 1994.
  20. ^ "No Jordan? No Sweat. Bulls Win Anyway". The New York Times. November 6, 1993. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  21. ^ "76er Bradley begins light rehabilitation". The New York Times. March 3, 1994.
  22. ^ Bostrom, Don (November 19, 1994). "Bradley Comes Up Big". The Morning Call.
  23. ^ "Bradley Comes Up Big For Nets". The Philadelphia Inquirer. February 20, 1996. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012.
  24. ^ Shawn Bradley, the butt of jokes in Philly, may get the last laugh now that he's standing tall for New Jersey
  25. ^ a b "Shawn Bradley Printable Stats". Archived from the original on December 18, 2007.
  26. ^ "The Lineup".
  27. ^ "Nets and Mavericks Clean House and Start Over (Published 1997)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 4, 2022.
  28. ^ "Shawn Bradley Stats: Basketball Reference. Retrieved 28 April 2022".
  29. ^ "Nachrichten –".
  30. ^ Luhm, Steve (February 7, 2007). "Shawn Bradley: A big man on campus". Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  31. ^ "Ex-NBA, BYU star Bradley seeks political office", Associated Press/, published March 20, 2010, accessed March 24, 2010.
  32. ^ "Shawn Bradley's Campaign Web Site", accessed September 26, 2010.
  33. ^ "2010 Utah General Election",, published November 3, 2010, accessed November 4, 2010.
  34. ^ "Honolulu Star-Bulletin Sports".
  35. ^ "We Are Blessed By Visitors". National Basketball Association.
  36. ^ Aiken, Kathy (March 12, 2011). "Former NBA player Shawn Bradley shares experience volunteering at leprosy colonies". Deseret News.
  37. ^ "Mormon Athlete Gets Fined $10,000 for Standing up for His Beliefs". April 26, 2016.
  38. ^ a b Burnsed, Brian (January 12, 2022). "Life After 7'6": Shawn Bradley, Paralyzed in a Bike Crash, Knows 'It'll Never Be the Same'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  39. ^ MacMahon, Tim (March 17, 2021). "Former NBA center Shawn Bradley paralyzed as result of bike accident". Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  40. ^ a b c Shawn Bradley profile, Internet Movie Database
  41. ^ ""Jimmer Jammers" group including Shawn Bradley, LaVell Edwards and Chad Lewis sings ode to Jimmer Fredette". ESPN.
  42. ^ "BYUtv". Archived from the original on January 19, 2013.
  43. ^ Jenks, Andrew (Director) (May 21, 2014). Posterized. ESPN.

External links edit