If you search “Shawn Bradley” on YouTube, the majority of the results will be videos of people dunking on him or trying to fight the 7’6 center that was picked in between the much loved Chris Webber and Penny Hardaway during the 93 draft. Now, I don’t mind those videos dominating the video results, but I do mind hearing people that have never watched him play in the 90′s say he was a “horrible player” or just some useless big man – which could be said about a long list of big men in the past 14 years that were lottery picks and sometimes #1 picks.
Thankfully I found another person who is willing to defend the center that wasn’t afraid of defending the basket and getting posterized more than any other player in the history of the game. His name is Andrew Jenks and he’s the director of the new ESPN 30 for 30 short: Posterized. Posterized is about the perceptions people have of Shawn Bradley and things that people don’t know about Bradley and his values that make him a success in life now and even when he was ending up on the bottom half of posters night after night.
I’m hoping you are willing to spend the next 13 minutes to watch the short film and hopefully you will have a new appreciation and/or respect for what Bradley did and is doing off the court.
Now back to what he did on the court. On April 7th of 1998, Shawn Bradley had a monster game of 22 points 22 rebounds & 13 blocks – against the big Portland lineup of Rasheed, Cato and Jermaine O’Neal. It was only the 5th time in history that a player recorded a 20/20/10 game and the first time ever done by a player off the bench. Now, I’m not trying to make it sound like games like this were a common occurrence, but he did average 11/8/3 that season with a couple standout games like these.
- 26pts 12rebs 7blks
- 21pts 17rebs 4blks
- 23pts 4rebs 8blks
And for the previous 7 seasons, he averaged close to a double double with 3 blocks – not many centers in the past decade can say that and some have even made the All-Star team.
Bottom line, I’m just trying to say, yes, Shawn Bradley was goofy looking, and yes, he got Posterized a lot and, yes, he got punched a lot, but he was a legit player for over a decade and that’s something most NBA players can’t say. He also seems to be enjoying his life after basketball while making a contribution to society – most retired NBA players can’t say that either.