Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley

Infobox Senator | name=Bill Bradley

jr/sr= United States Senator
state=New Jersey
term_start=January 3, 1979
term_end=January 3, 1997
preceded=Clifford P. Case
succeeded=Robert Torricelli
date of birth=birth date and age|1943|7|28
place of birth=Crystal City, Missouri
date of death=
place of death=
spouse= Ernestine Bradley
profession=Athlete (Basketball player)
awards = 1965 USBWA College Player of the Year
Infobox NBAretired
name= Bill Bradley

position=Small forward/Shooting guard
birthdate=birth date and age|1943|7|28
Crystal City, Missouri
draftround=territorial pick
* New York Knicks (1967–1977)
* New York Knicks #24 retired

William Warren "Bill" Bradley (born July 28, 1943) is an American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, and former U.S. Senator from New Jersey and presidential candidate, who opposed Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic Party's nomination for President in the 2000 election.

Personal life

Bradley is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.cite book | last = Townley | first = Alvin | authorlink = | coauthors = | origdate= 2006-12-26 |url=| title = Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts | publisher = St. Martin's Press| location = New York| pages= p. 9|id = ISBN 0-312-36653-1 |accessdate= 2006-12-29] cite web | last = Ray | first = Mark | authorlink = | coauthors = | year =2007 | url = | title =What It Means to Be an Eagle Scout | format = | work =Scouting Magazine| publisher =Boy Scouts of America | accessdate = 2007-01-05] [cite web| url = | title = Fact Sheet Eagle Scouts| publisher = Boy Scouts of America| accessdaymonth = 03 March | accessyear = 2008] Bradley's basketball ability was enhanced by his unusually wide peripheral vision. While most people's horizontal field covers 180 degrees, his covered 192 degrees. Vertically most people can see 47 degrees upward; Bradley could see 72 degrees.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year =2006 | url = | title =Wicked Problems: Peripheral Vision | format = | work =| publisher | accessdate = 2007-01-05] He is left-handed. During his high school years, Bradley maintained a maniacal practice schedule. He would work on the court for "three and a half hours every day after school, nine to five on Saturday, one-thirty to five on Sunday, and, in the summer, about three hours a day. He put ten pounds of lead slivers in his sneakers, set up chairs as opponents and dribbled in a slalom fashion around them, and wore eyeglass frames that had a piece of cardboard taped to them so that he could not see the floor, for a good dribbler never looks at the ball."cite book | last = Birnbaum | first = Jeffrey H. | year = 1987 | title= Showdown at Gucci Gulch]

Bradley is a close friend of NBA Coach Phil Jackson, since they were traveling roommates playing for the New York Knicks together. In 2000, Jackson was a vocal supporter of Bradley's run for the presidency and often wore his campaign button in public. In the 2007 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Bradley accompanied Jackson who was one of the inductees that year.

College basketball

Bradley was born in Crystal City, Missouri to Warren Bradley, a banker, and Susie Crowe. [ [ Ancestry of Bill Bradley ] ] Bradley began playing basketball in fourth grade. He was a basketball star at Crystal City High School, where he scored 3,068 points in his scholastic career and was twice named All-American. With stellar academic credentials as well, he received 75 college scholarship offers.

The 6' 5" (1.96 m) Bradley chose Princeton University, even though Ivy League colleges could not offer athletic scholarships, after backing out of a commitment to Duke University. At Princeton, under coach Butch van Breda Kolff, Bradley was a three-time All-American and the 1965 National Player of the Year. In each of Bradley's varsity seasons, the Tigers captured the Ivy League championship. During his sophomore season, Bradley averaged 27.3 points and 12.2 rebounds a game while sinking 89.3 percent of his free throws. Among his greatest games was a 41-point effort in an 80-78 loss to heavily favored Michigan in the 1964 Holiday Festival (Bradley fouled out with his team leading 75-63), and a 58-point outburst against Wichita State in the 1965 NCAA tournament, which was a single-game tournament record. In total, Bradley scored 2,503 points at Princeton, averaging 30.2 points per game. In 1965, Bradley became the first basketball player chosen as winner of the James E. Sullivan Award, presented to the United States' top amateur athlete in the country.

As a freshman, Bradley sank 57 successive free throws, a record unmatched at that time by any other player, college or professional. As a sophomore, he led the league in rebounds, field goals, free throws, and total points, and, when he fouled out after scoring a record-breaking 40 points in an NCAA tournament game with Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia, was given an unprecedented ovation.

In his junior year, he scored 51 points against Harvard, more than the entire opposing team had scored before he was taken out, and his 33.1 points-per-game average that season set an Ivy League record.

In his senior year, as captain, he led Princeton to its highest national basketball ranking ever. The Tigers placed third behind UCLA and Michigan in the NCAA tournament, by virtue of an 118-82 victory over Wichita State in the semi-final consolation game. In that game, Bradley scored 58 points. Only one other player has scored more in a tournament game: Notre Dame's Austin Carr scored 61 points in 1970 in a first round victory over Ohio.

Bradley graduated with honors and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Worcester College, University of Oxford. Bradley also served as captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1964. Bradley's remarkable tenure at Princeton was the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John McPhee's first book, "A Sense of Where You Are".

Professional basketball

After completing his studies at Oxford, and playing professional basketball briefly in Italy for Olimpia Milano (1965-66 season), where he won a European Champions Cup (the most important trophy for European teams), Bradley returned to the U.S. to join the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. On the court, Bradley struggled in his rookie year before coming into his own in his second season, when he was moved from the guard position to his more natural forward slot. In 1969–70, he helped the Knicks win their first NBA championship, followed by a second in 1972–73. The second championship season was Bradley's best as a pro, and he made his only All-Star Game appearance that year. His first NBA title also made him the first player ever to win an Olympic gold medal, a European Champions Cup, and an NBA championship ring. This feat has only been matched by Manu Ginóbili (in Ginóbili's case, the relevant European title is the current Euroleague). Retiring from basketball in 1977, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In 1984 the Knicks retired his number 24 jersey.

In the NBA, Bradley was not the major scoring threat he had been in college. Over ten years at small forward for the Knicks, "Dollar Bill," as he was nicknamed, scored a total of 9,217 points for an average of 12.4 points per game, with his best season being 16.1 points per game.

During his NBA career, Bradley used his fame on the court to explore social as well as political issues, meeting with journalists, government officials, academics, businesspeople, and social activists. He also worked as an assistant to the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C., where he made contacts in Democratic circles. In 1976, Bradley also became an author, with "Life on the Run", which chronicled his experiences in the NBA and the people he met along the way.

U.S. Senate

Bradley had harbored political ambitions for years, and in 1978 decided to run for United States Senate in New Jersey, for a seat held by liberal Republican and four-term incumbent Clifford P. Case. Case lost the primary election to anti-tax conservative Jeffrey Bell, and Bradley won the seat in the general election with 55 percent of the vote.

In the Senate, Bradley acquired a reputation for being somewhat aloof and was thought of as a "policy wonk," specializing in complex reform initiatives. The best known of these was the 1986 overhaul of the federal tax code, which reduced the tax rate schedule to just two brackets, 15 percent and 28 percent, and eliminated many kinds of deductions. Although he was a vocal supporter of various left-wing causes and political reform, he sometimes broke ranks with his party to support the Reagan administration (initially supporting, for instance, Reagan's policy of aiding the Contras in Nicaragua).

Some significant domestic policy initiatives that Bradley led or was associated with included: reform of child support enforcement; legislation concerning lead-related children's health problems; the Earned Income Tax Credit; campaign finance reform; a re-apportioning of California water rights; and federal budget reform to reduce the deficit, which included, in 1981, supporting Reagan's spending cuts but opposing his parallel tax cut package, one of only three senators to take this position. [ Reisner, Mark. Cadillac Desert, New York Penguin 1987. ]

Bradley was re-elected in 1984 with 64 percent of the vote, and he still retained popularity in New Jersey from his Knicks days and from practices such as his annual Labor Day talk-to-citizens stroll along Jersey Shore beaches. In 1988, there was speculation that he might seek the Democratic nomination for President, and he polled well in early primary states, but he eventually decided not to run. In 1990, a controversy over a state income tax increase—on which he refused to take a position—turned his once-obscure rival for the Senate, Christine Todd Whitman, into a viable candidate. Bradley won by only a slim margin. In 1996, he opted not to run for re-election, publicly declaring American politics "broken."

Presidential candidate

Bradley ran in the 2000 presidential primaries, opposing incumbent Vice President Al Gore for his party's nomination. Bradley campaigned as the liberal alternative to Gore, taking positions to the left of Gore on a number of issues, including universal health care, gun control, and campaign finance reform.

On the issue of taxes, Bradley trumpeted his sponsorship of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which had significantly cut tax rates while abolishing dozens of loopholes. He voiced his belief that the best possible tax code would be one with low rates and no loopholes, but he refused to rule out the idea of raising taxes to pay for his health care program.

On public education, Bradley reversed his previous support of school vouchers, declaring them a failure. He proposed to make over $2 billion in block grants available to each state every year for education. He further promised to bring 60,000 new teachers into the education system annually by offering college scholarships to anyone who agreed to become a teacher after graduating.

Bradley also made child poverty a significant issue in his campaign. Having voted against the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, better known as the "Welfare Reform Act," which, he said, would result in even higher poverty levels, he promised to repeal it as president. He also promised to address the minimum wage, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, allow single parents on welfare to keep their child support payments, make the Dependent Care Tax Credit refundable, build support homes for pregnant teenagers, enroll 400,000 more children in Head Start, and increase the availability of food stamps.

Although Gore was considered the party favorite, Bradley did receive several high-profile endorsements. He was supported by Senators Paul Wellstone, Bob Kerrey, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan; former Senators John A. Durkin and Adlai Stevenson III; Governor John Kitzhaber; former Governors Lowell Weicker (a former Republican), Mario Cuomo, Tony Earl, Ray Mabus, Brendan Byrne, Robert W. Scott, Neil Goldschmidt, Philip W. Noel, Kenneth M. Curtis, and Patrick Lucey; Congresspeople George Miller, Bill Lipinski, Pete Stark, Jerrold Nadler, Luis Gutiérrez, Anna Eshoo, Jim McDermott, and Diana DeGette; former Congresspeople Jim McNulty, Mary Rose Oakar, Michael J. Harrington, Andy Jacobs, and David Skaggs; former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich; former New York City Mayor Ed Koch; former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker; filmmaker Spike Lee; San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano; Seattle Mayor Paul Schell; Harvard Professor Cornel West; feminist icon Betty Friedan; former Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox; and basketball stars Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson.

Bradley's campaign initially had strong prospects, due to high-profile endorsements and as his fundraising efforts gave him a deep war chest. However, it floundered, in part because it was overshadowed by Senator John McCain's far more attention-gaining, but ultimately unsuccessful, campaign for the Republican nomination; McCain had stolen Bradley's "thunder" on several occasions. Bradley also failed to win two early primaries. He was much embarrassed by his two to one defeat in the Iowa caucus, despite spending heavily there, as the unions had pledged their support for Gore. He then lost the New Hampshire primary 53-47 percent, which ended any hope of him making up ground to Gore. Bradley finished a distant second during each of the primaries on Super Tuesday.

Recent years

Bradley has mostly stayed out of the limelight since his failed 2000 presidential primary campaign, working mainly as a corporate consultant and investment banker. He is chief outside advisor to McKinsey & Company's non-profit practice. In 2005, he joined the advisory board of British corporate investigation firm Hakluyt & Company, and in 2004, he joined the Board of Directors of Meetup. Oxford University awarded Bradley an honorary Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) in 2003, with the comment that he was "An outstandingly distinguished athlete, a weighty pillar of the Senate, and still a powerful advocate of the weak." Currently, Bradley serves on the Board of Directors of Superprotonic, a solid acid-based fuel cell technology development company. [ [ :: Welcome to Superprotonic :: About Us :: ] ]

Despite some speculation about a second presidential run, he did not run in 2004 and has shown no interest in returning to political office. In 2002, he reportedly turned down a last-minute offer from New Jersey Democrats to replace Robert Torricelli on the ballot for his old Senate seat (Frank Lautenberg accepted it instead). In January 2004, Bradley endorsed Howard Dean for President in the 2004 Democratic primaries, along with his old rival Al Gore. Bradley and Gore also helped Dean to become the national chairperson of the Democratic National Committee after the 2004 election. Bradley's book "The New American Story" was released on March 27, 2007.

Bradley has been strongly associated with the StoryCorps project, which is aired on NPR's "Morning Edition", that collects the stories of everyday Americans for the American Folklife Foundation. (See their 2007 published book, "Listening is An Act of Love".)

In January 2008, Bradley announced that he was supporting Barack Obama in that year's presidential primary. [ [ Political Radar: Bill Bradley Backs Barack Obama ] ] He campaigned for Obama and appeared on political news shows as a surrogate.

Bradley currently resides in Verona, New Jersey. He was married for 33 years to Ernestine Misslbeck Schlant Bradley; they separated in 2007 [] . They have one daughter, Theresa Anne, and Mrs. Bradley also has a daughter, Stephanie, from a previous marriage to a physician named Robert Schlant. She is also a breast cancer survivor. The Bradleys have four grandchildren.


ee also

* Pete Dawkins

Further reading

*Bradley, Bill "The New American Story" (Random House, 2007) ISBN 978-1-40006-507-3
*Bradley, Bill "The Journey from Here" (Artisan, 2000) ISBN 1-57965-165-8
*Bradley, Bill "Values of the Game" (Artisan, 1998) ISBN 1-57965-116-X
*Bradley, Bill "Time Present, Time Past: A Memoir" (Diane Pub Co, 1996) ISBN 0-7881-5778-7
*Bradley, Bill "Life on the Run" (Bantam Books, 1977) ISBN 0-553-11055-1
*McPhee, John "A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965) ISBN 0-374-51485-2

External links

* [] , Official site
* [ Bill Bradley's homepage on]
* [ Bill Bradley at the Basketball Hall of Fame]
* [ The Life of Bill Bradley (]
* [ Bill Bradley's announcement speech.]
* [ Bill Bradley's campaign brochure.]
* [ Bill Bradley "on the issues."]
* [ "The Nation" on Bill Bradley's campaign.]
* [ Senator Paul Wellstone's endorsement of Bradley.]
* [ Secretary of Labor Robert Reich offers the case for Bill Bradley.]
* 1965 [ Oscar Robertson Trophy] USBWA College Player of the Year

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