He's big, imposing and will soon grace the doorsteps of hundreds of Australian homes.
Shawn Bradley, 7-foot, 6 inches of potential stardom in the NBA, has given up slam dunks and rebounds for two years as a Mormon missionary.Bradley, a 19-year-old Brigham Young University standout and a top U.S. college player, arrived in Australia this week to take up his posting.
The Castle Dale, Utah, native said he was tempted to grab one of the many lucrative offers - some as high as $3 million a year - to play in the NBA.
"The temptation was certainly there and I had to think long and hard about what I was going to do," Bradley said. "I started to think I could do just as much by playing basketball and setting a good sporting example than I could by going on the mission.
"But in the end I realized the mission was what was expected of me and was what would be better for me in the end."
The mission, made by most Mormon males at age 19, means basketball will take a backseat, along with dating, television, movies and parties, for the next 24 months.
In its place will be religious study and six days a week of "personal contacting" - knocking on doors and talking to people in the street about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The most contact I'll have with basketball will be just talking about it," Bradley said at the mission center in Sydney. "I've played basketball most of my life, so it will probably be a little hard adjusting to life without it."
Bradley said he hopes to return to basketball when his mission concludes, adding that his time in Australia will "probably help me become a much more mature player."
As a freshman, Bradley led BYU to victory in the Western Athletic Conference post-season tournament in March and a 1-1 record in the NCAA Tournament. He will be a sophomore when he returns.
Brent Nash, president of the Sydney mission, agrees that Bradley's door-knocking will pay dividends in the future.
"If he continued in basketball now, he'd get into an awful lot of money real fast," Nash said. "To give that kind of money to a kid would ruin him, but after a two-year mission he'll know how to handle it. Shawn will have learned responsibility and matured."