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Paralyzed In Bike Crash, Former 76er + NJ Net Opens Up On Suicidal Thoughts

Shawn Bradley
Shawn Bradley Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/DVIDS Archive

A former NBA player has opened up about his battle against suicidal thoughts in an interview with "Sports Illustrated."

Standing at 7 feet and 6 inches tall, Shawn Bradley, 49 -- who spent time with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets -- told the outlet that while his height once put him at an advantage, it has become a hindrance to life in a wheelchair.

Bradley was hit from behind while riding his bicycle near his home in St. George, Utah, in January 2021, resulting in a traumatic spinal cord injury in his neck that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

“I don’t know how I can ease the burden of me,” he told SI. "When that conundrum weighs most heavily upon him, he can’t avoid considering one way to solve it. “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.”

Bradley hopes to one day be able to do more tasks without assistance, according to Sports Illustrated.

In the 1993 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected the then-21-year-old athlete with only one season of college basketball experience.

He was with the team for two years before being traded to the New Jersey Nets in 1995 and later to the Dallas Mavericks, where he played from 1997 to 2005 when he retired.

After his retirement as a player, Bradley worked with a Utah-based coeducational private school for at-risk youths, ran as a Republican for Utah's 44th District congressional district seat, and became a national spokesman for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Click here for more from Sports Illustrated.


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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