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[DAILY HERALD] Now that it's over, Shawn Bradley should be pleased with his career

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Yaowaming, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Yaowaming

    Yaowaming Contributing Member

    Nov 18, 2002
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    Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 03:34 PM |

    Todd Christensen: Now that it's over, Shawn Bradley should be pleased with his career

    Todd Christensen

    In a recent “Sports Illustrated” article there was a paragraph on the retirement of NBA center Shawn Bradley, a former Emery High and BYU standout. The magazine documented his career statistics as well as his height, but what caught my attention was the line which stated that “... he never lived up to expectations.” That nebulous phrase caused me to ponder, “Whose expectations?” We are a nation of spectators with a diminishing attention span such that our only exercise appears to be jumping to conclusions upon subjects ranging from Oscar nominees to terrorist defense with scant information at our fingertips other than whatever blurb was proffered us by the media.

    I have to admit that my last mental picture of Shawn Bradley has to do with a thunderous dunk over him by Tracy McGrady in the Houston-Dallas playoff series. As McGrady straddled him as a child would a hobby horse, it was a disconcerting scene and combined with the chronic ache that beset a variety of his joints, a somewhat ignominious conclusion to Bradley’s career seemed to be his destined denouement.

    But a perusal of his history affords us a different vista. Back in 1993, Bradley was the second pick of the NBA draft. Obviously, being picked so high creates a certain anticipation but even the Philadelphia 76er coterie of executives conceded that he was the proverbial “work in progress.” Having just returned from an LDS Church mission in Australia, Bradley was ill-prepared for the rigors of professional basketball but he had to be fiscally responsible. With an impending league salary cap for rookies, Bradley had to either be drafted right away or forfeit a considerable amount of money. Even the most ardent of the Cougar faithful would concede that opting for three years and $8,000,000 or six years and $40 million was a decision that fell under the category of “no-brainer.”

    But while his bottom line was improved, his game did not and as a result he suffered through an inauspicious first few years in the league that set back his development considerably.

    Another reason for “great expectations” was Bradley’s height. In football there is an adage that you cannot teach speed. In basketball, of course, it is that you cannot teach height. At 7-foot-6, Bradley was supposed to be a dominant player. But if being altitudinally endowed is all there was too it, then why didn’t Gheorge Muresan, Manute Bol, Chuck Nevitt or Tom Burleson — all 7-4 or taller — make a significant impact on the league? Mark Eaton, a local hero with the Utah Jazz, was 7-4 and certainly made a tangible contribution on the defensive end, twice being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

    But Bradley has a better scoring average and he led the league in blocks twice himself. If he had been asked to be a one-dimensional defender on a team with two of the greatest offensive threats in history could he have accomplished as much?

    George Bernard Shaw points out that, “The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness and by no means a necessity of life.” No one is preparing a bust for enshrinement in Springfield, Mass., for Bradley nor is the league planning a farewell tour. But for a dozen years on three teams (Philadelphia, New Jersey and Dallas) he competed with the best athletes on the planet, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

    In addition, the monetary rewards accrued will afford him a freedom that is unique, not to mention feeding and clothing many generations.

    Fulfilling the expectations of strangers is a waste of time.

    If I am Sean Bradley, I consider myself a lucky man.

    Todd Christensen is a former BYU standout and all-pro tight end with the Oakland Raiders who lives in Alpine. Todd’s big word of the day is “denouement,” which Webster’s defines as “any final revelation or outcome.” E-mail Todd at dhsports@heraldextra.com.
  2. MartianMan

    MartianMan Contributing Member

    May 2, 2005
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    What a stupid article.
  3. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

    Sep 1, 2000
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    Not only did his game suck, but he was often a dirty player and pretty much an arrogant whiny little prick on the court. Otherwise he made for great entertainment though. I will surely miss his presence everytime we play the Mavs and TMac drives the lane.

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