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Shawn Bradley had suicidal thoughts after paralysis from bike crash


Shawn Bradley admitted he has had suicidal thoughts in the wake of a bike accident that paralyzed him from the chest down.

Bradley, a former center for the Sixers, Mavericks and Nets, spoke to Sports Illustrated about how he and his family are coping with his paralysis.

While he earned nearly $70 million in his NBA playing career, the financial and emotional costs from the accident are staggering.

As much as being paralyzed would weigh on anyone, it is even harder for Bradley — who at 7-foot-6 is much bigger than the average person. He needed a 500-pound wheelchair that took several months to assemble.

A date night with his wife, Carrie, required her to make an advance trip to the movie theater to make sure it could accommodate a wheelchair of that size. Getting him into their minivan was another struggle, and she is left tending to his popcorn and soda.

“I love him, and he was so happy,” she said, “so I never wanted to tell him [it was exhausting].”

Shawn Bradley admitted living with paralysis has brought him to some very dark places.
Nury Hernandez

In the house, she helps him with eating and bathing. The learning curve of Bradley’s new reality has been rough on them all — and taken the ex-NBAer to some dark places.

“I don’t know how I can ease the burden of me,” Bradley said. “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.”

Shawn Bradley in 1993
NBAE via Getty Images

Bradley also said that it is difficult to be around people from his former life, like Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban, and have them see him in his current state.

“People that I’m very close with, the first time they see me, it’s emotional,” Bradley said. “It’s extremely draining.”

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