Utah Jazz fans must have had their hands on their heads when their team made the swap to acquire Tony Bradley, a relatively unknown University of North Carolina athlete who played college basketball for only a year when he couldn’t get started. However, a quick search will show that the center, originally selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 28th overall selection, showed signs of becoming one of the greats of the game and was brought into the team with a view to longer-term development.
Who is Tony Bradley?
Bradley was born as Tony Lee Bradley Jr. to Vanessa and Tony Bradley on January 8, 1998, in Bartow, Florida. From a very young age, Bradley was interested in basketball, which was said to be his father’s favorite sport. At the age of about 10, Bradley Snr. took his son to the 2009 McDonald’s All-American Game, where they saw future NBA players such as Derrick Favors, Lance Stephenson, and DeMarcus Cousins. This is said to have been the igniter of Bradley Jnr.’s passion to make it into the NBA one day.
His father started building a concrete basketball court in their backyard, where his son practiced his shot day after day, hoping to become one of the players he watched. Tony Bradley’s perseverance seemed to pay off as he earned McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic titles in his final year of high school when he played for Bartow High School. This year, Bradley averaged 22.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3 blocks per game to also be named Florida Mr. Basketball.
After graduating high school, Bradley, who had attracted the interest of schools such as the University of Kansas, the University of Florida, Florida State University, Vanderbilt, the University of Alabama, and other prestigious college programs, accepted the offer from North Carolina University (UNC). Despite the hype surrounding his freshman year at the school, Tony Bradley was unable to start a game due to the presence of Kennedy Meeks, who was in high school at the time. However, Bradley still managed to appear in all 38 games at his school, averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 14.6 minutes as the UNC Tar Heels, and then won the 2017 NCAA Championship against Gonzaga.
When was He Drafted into NBA?
Following the University of North Carolina’s victory in the NCAA Championship, Tony Bradley announced that he would give up his remaining three college years to participate in the 2017 NBA Draft. Originally he had left the option open to return to the UNC for his second year, but after he was expected to be selected at least in the third round of the draft, Bradley decided to go pro, becoming the first player in the school since 2008 to play just one college basketball year.
In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected him with the 28th overall selection but immediately traded him for Utah Jazz. Bradley made his NBA debut on November 5, 2017, against the Houston Rockets before being sent to the Salt Lake City Stars in the NBA Development League. He then played a total of 24 games for the D League team with an average of 15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. In the NBA, Bradley only made 9 appearances, averaging 0.9 points and 1.2 rebounds in 3.2 minutes per game. He was also in a 2018 NBA playoff game where he scored 2 points and had 1 rebound in 2 minutes of play.
Tony Bradley earns an average annual salary of about $1.5 million from his two-year $3.09 million contracts with Utah Jazz. This makes him the 13th highest-paid player on the team.
Tony Bradley, who is known as a very good offensive rebounder, has a height of 2.08 m. This places him second, along with Ekpe Udoh and Derrick Favors, on the list of Utah Jazz’s greatest players, behind NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2018, Rudy Gobert, whose height is listed as 2.16 meters.
Bradley’s weight is further listed at 248 pounds or 112 kg, wingspan at 7 feet 5 inches or 2.26 m, and standing reach at 9 feet 4.5 inches or 2.86 m.