№32: Shawn Bradley Player Spotlight | This Week’s Comic Book Haul | Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Origins’ He-Man Action Figure (2021) | The Suicide Squad (2021)
August 15, 2021
Welcome to the tedi.substack.com weekly newsletter! At the beginning of each week1, this newsletter will touch on any number of entertaining, informative, or (possibly) useful topics.
A pitch deck for a new comic book project as well as script deadlines for Lindol Issue #8) contributed to this week’s newsletter not getting out on time. I am grateful though for the very productive week.
Onwards to newsletter #32! I start off with a Player’s Spotlight on former Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks center Shawn Bradley. Other sections this week include my latest Comic Book Haul, Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Origins’ He-Man Action Figure (2021), and a few thoughts on The Suicide Squad (2021).
Jump below for more.
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The concept behind my Player Spotlight segment was inspired by the writings of the late Zander Hollander (Sportswriter, archivist, and author of the ever informative The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball) wherein he would write short and insightful entries on—then 20 something—NBA teams and their players for that particular season. With over 30 years of basketball knowledge under my belt, I decided to come up with my own short, free flowing, and non-linear/viewpoint narrative on a featured player.
Born Shawn Paul Bradley (March 22, 1972) in Landstuhl, West Germany. Famously known for his 7’6” frame, Shawn’s parents were also quite tall with his father, Reiner, standing 6’8” and his mother Teresa, at 6’0”. By the age of 13 or 14, Bradley shot up to a height of 6’8”. At the conclusion of his third year of high school, he had also reached his full adult height of 7’5”.
Shawn Bradley was raised in Castle Dale, Utah where he would go on to become a standout three-sport star (baseball, basketball, and football) in nearby Emery High School. While at Emery, Bradley led the school to a staggering 64-4 overall record and two state basketball championships during his junior and senior seasons. For his efforts (3-time All-State, 2-time MVP of State, and the Co-MVP of 1990 McDonald’s All-American game [with Christ the King HS (NY)’s Khalid Reeves]), Shawn Bradley became one of the most highly recruited players across America.
Ultimately, Bradley decided to commit to Brigham Young University (BYU) wherein he would play a single season (averaging 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.2 blocks over 34 games) before taking a two-year leave of absence in order to do full-time missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
With the completion of his missionary work in 1993, Shawn Bradley renounced his remaining three years of NCAA eligibility and declared for the 1993 NBA Draft.
Selected with the 2nd overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1993 NBA Draft, Shawn Bradley wasted no time and signed a lucrative 8-year, $44 million contract on July 30, 1993. Just to give you an idea of how big that contract was at that time, the reported amount was more than what Shaquille O’Neal was “earning at that stage of his career.”
Looking back at the eye-popping deal almost 30 years later, it would be safe to assume that the 76ers were hoping that Bradley would become just as dominant in the NBA as he was in college and high school. Instead, the 76ers patience eventually wained with Shawn’s slow development. Now what did they expect? The man had not played competitive basketball in two years and his lanky frame (weighing a reported 235 pounds) also didn’t do him any favors.
Matched up against some of the best pivot men in the world on a nightly basis, Bradley certainly had his work cut out for him yet managed to average 28.3 minutes, 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 3.0 blocks, on an atrocious 40.9% from the field over 49 games (Shawn’s rookie season ended prematurely due to a dislocated kneecap).
In his sophomore campaign, Shawn Bradley would go on to show a great deal of durability and play all 82 regular season games for the 76ers. A slight increase in minutes (28.8 per game) also contributed to career numbers in several other statistical categories: rebounding (8.0), block shots (3.3), and field goal percentage (45.5%). But despite this modest improvement, the 76ers decided to move on from Bradley (after only 12 games in the 1995-1996 NBA season) and pulled the trigger on an early season trade involving the New Jersey Nets.
Centered around former All-Star Derrick Coleman and Shawn Bradley, the Nets also sent backup shooting guard Rex Walters and swingman Sean Higgins to the 76ers for backup guard Greg Graham and forward Tim Perry. Bradley would go on to play a total of 107 NBA games (averaging 30.1 minutes, 12.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals, and a whopping 3.8 blocks per game!) for the New Jersey Nets over the course of the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997.
Midway through the 1996-1997 season, the New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks—who were making their second deal in 10 days—orchestrated a nine-player deal (the largest reported deal in the last 25 years [1971-1972 season]). The trade involved Bradley, small forward Ed O’Bannon, and back up point guards Khalid Reeves and Robert Pack being shipped to the Dallas Mavericks for All-Star forward/center Chris Gatling, shooting guard Jimmy Jackson, point guard Sam Cassell, swingman George McCloud, and center Eric Montross.
Despite being traded twice in a two-year span, Shawn Bradley eventually found a home and would go on to play 8 1/2 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks before retiring at the end of the 2004-2005 NBA season. In 582 games with the Mavericks, Shawn would go on to average 21 minutes, 7.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.6 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game.
Before jumping into my personal notes, I would like to wish Shawn Bradley all the best as he rehabilitates from a traumatic spinal cord injury that he suffered earlier this year (January 2021).
It’s been 25 years since Space Jam (1996) was released in theaters but whenever Bradley’s name comes up, images of the Nerdlucks’ syphoning the basketball talents of Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Muggsy Bogues, Patrick Ewing, and Larry “LJ” Johnson almost always comes to mind.
Those are the best roles: Small yet iconic!
This Week’s Comic Book Haul (August 2nd, 2021 - August 8th, 2021)
Here is a breakdown of this week’s titles:
1) Department of Truth #6 (Martin Simmonds 6th Final Printing Variant | Cover O) - Can you imagine what series’ writer James Tynion IV and artist Martin Simmonds are making on this book? Six printings!
2) Department of Truth #11 (Martin Simmonds Regular | Cover A, Trevor Henderson Variant | Cover B, and Ethan Young Variant | Cover C) - Every time I look at Simmonds’ Issue #11 cover, Ultraman immediately comes to mind.
3) The Last Book You’ll Ever Read #1 (Leila Leiz Regular | Cover A) - From writer Cullen Bunn and series artist Leila Leiz, main character Olivia Kade hires a bodyguard (Connor Wilson) to protect her during the upcoming book tour of her highly controversial international bestseller. The catch, Wilson is not allowed to read the book.
4) Something is Killing the Children #18 (Werther Dell'Edera Regular | Cover A) - Sadly, the only cover carried by my LCS.
Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Origins’ He-Man Action Figure  (August 5, 2021)
Thanks to a pre-arranged deal with my brother involving a 2021 Marvel Legends Series Vault Guardsman, I have now in possession my first 5.5-inch He-Man action figure since the early 1980’s.
But that wasn’t always the case.
Prior to my recent acquisition, I have always held off picking up any of the He-Man interpretations (although I must admit that 2002 line was rather tempting) and re-launches until I found out about Mattel’s Masters of the Universe - Eternia Minis (Series 2 | Snake Mountain packaging) late last year.
With it’s 40th anniversary coming up, I figured, “What would be the harm?”
They were minis after all and hardly take up any space—a premium for most collectors.
Now, I have a bigger one. Yikes, a possible Pandora’s box.
But seriously, if I were to pick up any of the other figures in this Retro Play line, I’d pull the trigger on a Skeletor and Battle Cat. Not to mention a long and hard look at a Castle Greyskull Playset as I’ve always wanted to have one of those (It’s a story for another time).
Movie of the Week: The Suicide Squad  (August 7, 2021)
To talk about this James Gunn masterpiece in detail would do a great disservice to those that haven’t had the opportunity to watch it yet. So if you are one of those that have yet to see it—drop what you’re doing and watch it! You won’t be sorry!
This movie is a prime example of how many good properties DC Comics has in its proverbial stable of characters. It doesn’t always have to focus on top tier characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman; it is just a matter of committing to other characters and finding a storyline wherein they can shine. The Suicide Squad  is that kind of movie.
Note: There are two post-credit scenes. Wait for them! ■
Tedi Gustilo Villasor, Ph.D. is a former columnist for Baby Magazine (Philippines) as well as a past contributor to NBA.com/Philippines. His other works include the indie comic books Lindol and OBIsessions.
Click here for more information on his work as a psychologist.
Click here to order Lindol (with artist and co-creator Randy Valiente) from our online partner Secret HQ.
Click here to order OBIsessions (with artist and co-creator Jann Galino) from our online partner Secret HQ.
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