Bill Bradley, the man with the golden resume—All American Basketball, Olympic Gold Medalist, Rhodes Scholar, NBA Hall of Famer, United States Senator and international banker—shares what he has experienced in a new "performative autobiography" on Max.
To see the full conversation, click the video link above. Keep reading for more of Bill Bradley's story and excerpts from the interview.
Bill Bradley has crammed an extraordinary number of achievements into his 80 years. And one failure which had a huge impact but he turned, as he has done before, into a personal success. It is a remarkable life now summed up in a “performative autobiography,” called Rolling Along: An American Story, which can be seen on Max.
Here is the trailer for the film:
It began simple enough. He brought some friends together when he gave his papers to his alma mater, Princeton University.
He undertook a huge challenge, writing his story in 90 minutes and then memorizing it to perform on stage, hoping it might get others to tell their story and create the American story.
Bradley grew up in the small town of Crystal City, Missouri, the only child of a loving mother and father who ran the local bank. Bill Bradley’s passion was basketball. His practice discipline made him very good and the recipient of over 70 scholarship offers. He chose Princeton where he set Ivy League records, but initially struggled academically. Later, he graduated magna cum laude and received a coveted Rhodes Scholarship. In 1964, he won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. basketball team. After two years in England at Oxford University, he returned to the United States and joined the New York Knicks of the NBA. Once again he struggled, later becoming an important starter for a team that won two world Championships in his 10 years. Bradley credits his pro basketball experience with valuable lessons about life, especially race.’
From national basketball celebrity, Bradley started at the top in politics becoming the Democratic Senator from New Jersey. He served three terms, writing important tax reform legislation, and then surprised most political observers by retiring after his 3rd term ended in 1977.
Bill Bradley, because of his golden resume as an athlete and student, and then senator, was one of the those young Americans like Bill Clinton and others who are early in their life are characterized as a future president. In 2000, Bradley ran for president, seeking the Democratic nomination against Vice President Al Gore. He lost badly as he noted, going from a very important person to an unemployed failed politician. It became once again a time for soul searching about who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. So like his father he went into finance, becoming an investment banker at Allen Co in New York. While Bradley maintains a passion for America and its political future, his performative autobiography, “Rolling Along” reflects his perspective as he has grown from a highly visible public life to a more personal focus on kindness.
Bill Bradley lives in New York City with his companion/partner Betty Sue Flowers, a former director of the LBJ Library. He has a daughter, Theresa Anne, with his former wife, Ernestine Schlant. They divorced in 2007.
He has written six books, including a memoir, and while still at Princeton was the subject of a famous New Yorker profile, “A Sense of Where You Are,” written by John McPhee, that became a popular book.