BILL BRADLEY Biography - Polititians


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Name: William Warren Bradley                                                             
Born: 28 July 1943 Crystal City, Missouri                                               
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.                                   
Bradley is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award           
from the Boy Scouts of America. 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. 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."                             
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.                             
Bradley was born in Crystal City, Missouri to Warren Bradley, a banker, and             
Susie Crowe. 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 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.                                             
John McPhee's A Sense of Where You Are (1965) is a paean to Bradley's Princeton         
playing years. It was Pulitzer prize winner John McPhee's first book.                   
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.                                                                 
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. 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.                                                                   
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 his primary contest to anti-tax     
conservative Jeff Bell, and Bradley won the seat in the general election with 55%       
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% and 28%, 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; and federal budget reform to reduce the deficit, which included, in 1981,       
supporting President Reagan's spending cuts but opposing his parallel tax cut           
package, one of only three senators to take this position.                               
Bradley was re-elected in 1984 with 64% 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."         
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 intially 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         
was much embarrassed by his two to one defeat in the Iowa caucus, despite               
spending heavily there, as the unions pledged their support for Gore. He then           
lost the New Hampshire primary 53-47%. Bradley finished a distant second during         
each of the primaries on Super Tuesday.