Bill Bradley—Former American Senator

by Kristine Bigcas

Bill Bradley is a former American Democratic senator and a famous NBA player for the New York Knicks. He also played in the Olympic Basketball team of 1964. He was once a candidate for the 2000 presidential nomination for the Democratic Party but failed to win despite his three terms as a senator for New Jersey. He attended both Princeton College and Oxford University. Prior to his successful careers in basketball and politics, he previously served the United States Air Force as a reserve officer.

He is also a fictional author of seven books such as We Can All Do Better. He also hosts radio shows from different stations. Bill also is a business person and earns his income from his business ventures. He serves as the corporate director of Starbucks and a partner at Allen & Company. He is one of the Advisory Board of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One. Lastly, in 2008, he has been added to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Early Life and Family

He was born William Warren Bradley on July 28, 1943. His birthplace is in Crystal City, Missouri. He grew up in Missouri with the companionship of his parents, Waren Bradley and Susan Crowe. His father was a “solid Republican” and discussed with him anything and everything about politics. The older William worked as a bank president while Susan, on the other hand, was a teacher who played basketball in high school. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow and became a trained Eagle scout.

Education

Bill already showed early interest in basketball. At the age of nine, he already started playing the sport. He continued playing while in Crystal City High School and scored a total of 3,068 points in his school career. He was named All-American twice and has been elected to be a part of the Missouri Association of Student Councils. He had allocated an ample time practicing his basketball skills in high school. He scheduled his practices three and a half hours daily after school and every nine to five every Saturdays and one-thirty to five on Sundays. During the summers he spends three hours of each day on the court. He put an effort in his training by setting up obstacles such as chairs as opponents and weights of about ten pound on his sneakers to make it more effective. He even wore covered sunglasses to be able to dribble even without looking at the floor because he believes that “a good dribbler never looks at the ball.”

All his hard work paid off after his graduation in high school. He was offered 75 scholarships despite sending applications only to five schools. He turned down those schools and went to Princeton University. He didn’t score high on his verbal portion of the scholastic aptitude test with only 485 out of 800 for the Verbal portion.

His education in Princeton was not under any scholarship because of the rule of the Ivy League that disallows any school belonging to it to award athletic scholarships. He also wasn’t granted financial aid due to the wealth of his family. Despite that, he still chose to enroll in the university because it was known to be an institution that molds students for government service or foreign work. He had an average of 30 points per game in his first year and has made 40 points in a game against St. Joseph’s. He became the top sophomore student in the United States.

During his senior year, he became the captain and led his team in the 1964-1965 season. Throughout his years in Princeton, he was able to score a total of 2,503 points with an average of 30.2 points per game. Because of this, he was given the James E. Sullivan Award. He was the second Princeton student to be given this award as well as the first basketball player.

While in Princeton, he had a specific schedule of practicing three to four hours daily, studying seven hours, and occasionally participating in the activities of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also taught in the Sunday School of the Presbyterian Church in the area. He finished his degree with flying colors as magna cum laude. His thesis had rewarded him with a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford – Worcester College.

Personal Life & Relationships with Wife and Child

He was once married to Ernestine Misslbeck Schlant. She is a professor of comparative literature who was born in Germany. She grew up and finished college in Germany. She became a flight attendant in 1957 for Pan Am Airlines. She was first married to Robert Schlant, which led her to America, specifically in Atlanta. Ernestine later divorced her first husband. Her marriage to Bill ended up in a divorce as well. They have one daughter that they named Theresa Anne.

In her memoir, she detailed her life as a spouse to Bill, especially when he was already a senator. She said that she wanted to keep her career just as much as Bill wanted to keep his. In there she had written, “There are lots of wives down here who are lawyers to begin with or real-estate agents. I wasn’t willing to do that. We just had to work it out. New Jersey isn’t so far from Washington. It was stressful, but it worked.”

Theresa Anne

At the age of 10, Therese stayed with her father when her mother remained in New Jersey to pursue her career. She had to move with Bill because he spent his time in Washington, D.C., as a US senator. She studied at New York University when she reached college.

Basketball Career

He was initially offered by the New York Knicks to play with them after his graduation in Princeton. However, he chose not to sign with them and instead traveled to Italy to play for the Olimpia Milano. At this time, he was studying politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford. Before he could graduate from Oxford, he dropped his studies to join the Air Force Reserves. After six months in service, he finally joined the Knicks in December 1967. He also took this opportunity to take a special exam and graduate from Oxford in 1968.

It was in his third season with the Knicks that they finally bagged the championship title, not just once but twice. In his overall stay with the team, he made 9,217 points with a 12.4 points average per game. He retired in 1977 and was included in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame six years later. After he was included in the Hall of Fame, he then finally retired his number 24 jersey in 1984.

When asked in an interview if he knew he would be a famous baller, he had his to say:

When I was in high school I wanted my team to win the state championship. When I was in college I wanted my team to win the NCAA Championship. But when I was 14 I didn’t think about playing professionally, even when I was playing three hours a day during the week and five hours on the weekend. And I write about that in my book, Values of the Game. It’s not something I designed, but it came about through setting goals and hard work.

Political Career

He is no stranger to politics as his family members are local and county politicians. he was also in the Senate chamber when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. He campaigned for Democratic candidates despite his father’s reputation of being a solid Republican. In 1977, the same year he retired from basketball, he decided to run for the senate seat. He won in the general elections with 56 percent of votes. He has initiated and passed different bills and reforms through his first term. He was then re-elected in 1984 with a winning vote of 65 percent against Mary V. Mochary. He announced in 1995 that he is not seeking to be re-elected. “Broken” was the term he used to describe American politics.

In the 2000 presidential primaries, Bill decided to run for the Democratic party. He went against Al Gore, the vice president at that time. He showed potential in the early stage of the campaign but he failed to actually win the elections. He withdrew from the campaign and endorsed Al Gore for the vice-presidency. In 2008, he campaigned for the Democratic party presidential candidate, Barrack Obama.

Other Works

Bill also wrote books from 1977 to 2012. His books are Life on the RunTime Past: A MemoirValues of the GameThe Journey from HereThe New American Story, and We Can All Do Better.

He was also a corporate consultant, an investment banker, a managing director, and a chief adviser. He is also a senior adviser, a member of the board, chairman, and co-chair. All these positions held by him were rendered to multiple companies.

Net Worth

Back in 1999, it was reported that his net worth is no less than $5.1 million.