Former NBA player Shawn Bradley has disclosed that he was paralysed two months ago when he was struck from behind by a vehicle while riding a bike near his Utah home.
A statement issued through the Dallas Mavericks on behalf of the 48-year-old Bradley was the first public acknowledgement of the incident involving the second overall pick in the 1993 draft by Philadelphia.
One of the tallest players in NBA history at 229cm, Bradley was riding his bike about a block from his home in St. George, Utah, on January 20, when he was struck, causing a traumatic spinal cord injury, the statement said.
Bradley has been hospitalised since the accident, undergoing neck fusion surgery and rehabilitation.
“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,” the statement said.
“He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.”
Bradley played one season at college in 1990-91 before doing two years of missionary work in Australia. He was drafted after returning to America.
“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,” the statement said.
Bradley spent the last eight-plus seasons of his 12-year NBA career with the Mavericks, who acquired him as part of a nine-player trade with the New Jersey Nets in 1997.
Two years earlier, the 76ers had traded Bradley to the Nets.
Bradley averaged at least three blocks per game in each of his first six seasons, including an NBA-best 3.4 the season he was traded to Dallas.
His career averages were 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
“Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.
“We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery. He will always be a part of our Mavs family.”