Shawn Bradley may not have lived up to his billing as the dominant defensive force that led him to become the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, but he certainly did pretty well for himself. Standing tall at 7-foot-6, Bradley carved himself a very good collegiate basketball career at Brigham Young University. That success turned him into the second overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft.
Shawn Bradley’s college career
Shawn Bradley was one of the most intriguing players in all of college basketball. At a freshman at BYU during the 1990-91 season, Bradley was known for his blocking prowess. At 7-foot-6, he swatted nearly everything in sight. As a freshman, he led the nation in blocks with 177, averaging better than five per game.
He played in all 34 games as a freshman and was at his best in a game against Eastern Kentucky. In that game, Bradley tied an NCAA record for blocks in a game with 14. He also scored 29 points. Bradley showed he was more than just a shot blocker. In his freshman year, Bradley averaged 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds as well.
Bradley, however, played just one year of college ball. He was heavily recruited by colleges after averaging 25 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 blocks per contest in his senior year of high school. After his freshman year at BYU, he stepped away from the sport to fulfill a two-year mission for his church.
Shawn Bradley’s NBA career
After spending two years away from basketball, Bradley was both an enticing and risky prospect heading into the 1993 NBA draft. His height was very intriguing at 7-foot-6, but he weighed just 235 pounds and was considered by many as too frail to battle with the big boys of the NBA. His hiatus from the game was also concerning.
Chris Webber was selected first overall in 1993 and the Philadelphia 76ers decided to take a chance on the BYU big man, selecting him second overall. It was a gamble for Philadelphia, and although he did play 12 seasons in the NBA, he was selected one pick ahead of Penny Hardaway, who was a four-time NBA All-Star who played 14 seasons in the league.
Bradley was no slouch, but he was no star. For his career, he averaged 8.1, points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He lasted just two-plus years in Philadelphia before being traded to the New Jersey Nets in a packaged deal that included Derrick Coleman. Bradley played for the Nets for two seasons before spending his final nine seasons with the Dallas Mavericks.
Bradley made nearly $70 million in the NBA
Despite his 8.1 points-per-game average for his NBA career, Shawn Bradley made a pretty good living for himself. At the peak of his career, Bradley made $8,370,000 during the 2000-01 season when he was with the Dallas Mavericks. In his rookie season, he took in his lowest amount per season at $2,700,000. For his career, Bradley made $69,580,000.
For the most part, Bradley has remained out of the spotlight since his NBA career came to an end after the 2004-05 season. He became involved with West Ridge Academy, a private school for at-risk youth, serving as a mentor and a coach. In 2010, he jumped into politics as he ran for a seat in the Utah House of Representatives, where he lost. He’s also been involved in many charities, including one in which he donated $25 for every blocked shot during the 2000-01 season to Bryan’s House, a facility for children affected by HIV and AIDS.
Bradley, in an interview with TMZ, said he’s been very busy since he retired from basketball. He said he has “a new family, a new life” and he’s raising five teenagers. He was asked what advice he would give to players such as Tacko Fall, a 7-foot-6 rookie with the Boston Celtics. “Work hard, always work hard and be yourself,” Bradley said. “Surround yourself with good people.”