Bill Bradley achieved more success at an early age than most people hope to accomplish in a lifetime. He was a brilliant student who earned a Rhodes Scholarship, a star basketball player in the Ivy League and the NBA, a senator on the front lines of American history, and even a candidate for president of the United States. These impressive accomplishments are just a part of the amazing legacy of a man from a small Missouri town along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.
THE EARLY YEARS
Bill Bradley was born on July 28, 1943, and grew up in the small town of Crystal City, about thirty-five miles south of St. Louis. He began playing basketball at the age of nine and through his high school years became one of the best players ever to come from the Show Me State. His abilities extended into the world of academics as well. His talents in the classroom and on the court led to scholarship offers from more than seventy universities, including schools in the prestigious Ivy League.
RISE TO FAME
Bradley chose Princeton University to continue his studies where his performance on the court had pro scouts knocking on his door long before he graduated. He dominated the game from the moment he stepped onto the court at the college level, where he set a number of records during his tenure. He averaged more than thirty points per game during his three seasons, which helped Princeton win the Ivy League championship, while also earning All-American honors himself. He also played on the U.S. national team that won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
For most people, a jump to the NBA right after college would be a dream come true, but Bradley wasn’t ready to put his studies aside. Instead, he accepted a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University in Europe to pursue his master’s degree.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
Bradley’s next step was back to the court as he joined the NBA and the New York Knicks. He impressed coaches by taking a scientific approach to professional basketball, studying the intricacies of the game. Using his intelligence to improve his value on the basketball court, he led the Knicks to the 1970 and 1973 NBA championships. He retired from basketball in 1977 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1984, the Knicks retired his No. 24 jersey.
It didn’t take Bradley long to launch the next phase of his career, this time as a politician. He used his name recognition to propel himself to the U.S. Senate in 1978. Over the course of nearly two decades in the Senate, he became known as an expert in international finance and also in domestic issues, especially health care.
Riding the success he had in the Senate, he next turned his attention to the country’s highest office. He ran a very successful primary campaign in 2000, going head to head against eventual winner, Vice President Al Gore. After that race, he decided it was time for yet another career change, this time in the private sector. He turned his attention to banking, writing books, hosting radio shows, and continuing to work in Democratic politics, only now on the sidelines. Bradley is a supremely gifted and intelligent man who continues to prove that in whatever endeavor he chooses to pursue, he will succeed.
*Bill Bradley is an Olympic gold medalist and has two NBA championship rings.
*His nickname on the court was “Dollar Bill.”
*He was the first basketball player to win the Amateur Athletic Union’s Sullivan Award for the amateur athlete of the year.
*Senator Bradley is the author of five books, two of which, Time Present, Time Past and Values of the Game, were on
the New York Times Best Seller’s List.
Famous People from Missouri