Courtesy of Shawn Bradley, Associated Press
MURRAY, Utah — At 7-foot-6, former NBA center Shawn Bradley needs just about everything custom-made, from clothes and chairs to countertops and doorways.
It's why he was bummed when his custom-build Trek road bicycle, complete with an 80 centimeter carbon fiber-aluminum frame, was stolen last Friday.
"There's no way they could have ridden it away," Bradley said Thursday morning. "It's kind of baffling. I think it will turn up."
He was right.
A random search of a residence by state probation and parole officials turned up the bike Thursday afternoon in the town of Murray, where Bradley has a home, police said. Joshua Carter, 34, was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and felony theft, Murray police Sgt. Brian Wright said.
Bradley, who has been riding the bicycle since packing on the pounds after his retirement following 13 NBA seasons, was thrilled at the news.
Authorities wouldn't reveal a motive for the theft, but Bradley speculated that anybody who took it simply was looking for something they could pawn for quick cash.
They certainly weren't going to ride it — as it is about 50 percent larger than what a normal-sized person would ride. Trek never even included a serial number when it built the bike in 2005 because it is so unique.
"I'm guessing he just walked it away," Wright said of the suspect, who stands just 6-foot.
Bradley's home on 3 acres is protected by an electronic gate, and backs up to Little Cottonwood Creek.
Bradley found it strange that only the bicycle, black with a "76" painted on the frame to denote Bradley's height, was taken Friday morning from a barn next to the gated home. Seven other bicycles used by his six children and wife weren't touched, nor were his boat, tools or even a $200 pair of Oakley sunglasses stuffed into his bicycle helmet.
"It's a stolen bike, not the end of the world," Bradley said before knowing it had been recovered. "It's just kind of a weird story. It's not like I can go down to the bike shop and buy a new bike. It'd be the same if my clothes were stolen."
Inside his home, countertops and doorways are raised and an oversized animal-print chair sits behind his large desk. With a 44-inch inseam, even his pants must be custom-made.
Bradley took up cycling because he needed to get healthy again. He had taken time off following his NBA career to let his body recover, but also packed on the pounds, ballooning from his playing weight of 275 pounds to 335.
"I just wasn't feeling good," Bradley said.
Bicycling the roads and canyons of Utah was the solution.
He's shed about 30 pounds of fat after making bicycling part of a daily routine. He's logged several thousand miles, including many "century rides" — rides of 100 miles or more. Bradley also rode from Logan, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyo., last year.
"It's changed my body (composition) and when I ride the bike in the morning, I want to eat healthy the rest of the day. It's a mental game I play with myself," he said.
The 39-year-old is president of the board of directors at West Ridge Academy, a youth residential treatment center in Utah. In 2010, he ran for a seat in the Utah House of Representatives but lost. He's contemplating another run for public office.
Now he doesn't have to worry about finding a replacement bicycle, valued at between $6,000 and $10,000.
"I'm not a racer, but I love to ride," he said on a sun-splashed fall day. "A day like today would have been perfect."
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