If you are a seven-foot-six former NBA star, a number of normal day-to-day activities could be challenging, even as simple as biking. That has been precisely the case with former Dallas Mavericks center Shawn Bradley.
The first challenge for Bradley was to find a bike that could support his height and frame, but it was solved by referring to detailed online bike size charts like IceBike’s. Unfortunately, the real challenge was something beyond all that-to stay safe on the road.
Last year, the NBA community was stunned when news broke that Bradley was hit by a car just a block away from his home in St. George, Utah, while biking. The horrible accident saw the former NBA blocks champion undergoing neck fusion surgery and, even worse, paralyzed.
“This isn’t what ‘in sickness and in health’ typically means.”
As expected, Bradley’s life took a huge turn around as he is now living life in a custom-made wheelchair. And given his unusual size, the complicated process of his road to recovery was too much to bear at times.
Despite his family’s unconditional love and support, especially his wife, Carrie, Shawn would sometimes still let the negativity win, prompting him to contemplate the worst.
“I didn’t ask her to do this,” Bradley told Sports Illustrated. “This isn’t what ‘in sickness and in health’ typically means.”
“I don’t know how I can ease the burden of me,” he added. “Maybe it’d be better if this was just all over. Yes, those thoughts creep in—and they’re real. I can’t ever imagine myself acting on those thoughts, but I definitely have them.”
Aside from the pain caused by seeing his family having to deal with his condition, Bradley also had difficulties handling his emotions when members of the Mavericks organization, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, and Mark Cuban reached out to him.
“People that I’m very close with, the first time they see me, it’s emotional,” he confessed. “It’s extremely draining.”
Shawn is still fortunate
On the other hand, there’s still a bright side to Bradley’s story. Having made almost $70 million throughout his 11-year NBA career, “The Stormin’ Mormon” is still lucky to have the means to afford the estimated roughly $5 million costs of his rehabilitation.
More importantly, Shawn is not lacking the support he truly needs from his other half.
“I love him, and he was so happy,” Carrie said. “So I never wanted to tell him [it was exhausting].”
It's tremendous to see Bradley has so many people that care about him - it probably gave him the courage to open up about the mental impact his accident had on him. If you are struggling with similar thoughts, know that you are not alone. Reach out to Lifeline for yourself or your loved ones.