A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton
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When John McPhee met Bill Bradley, both were at the beginning of their careers. A Sense of Where You Are, McPhee's first book, is about Bradley when he was the best basketball player Princeton had ever seen. McPhee delineates for the reader the training and techniques that made Bradley the extraordinary athlete he was, and this part of the book is a blueprint of superlative basketball. But athletic prowess alone would not explain Bradley's magnetism, which is in the quality of the man himself―his self-discipline, his rationality, and his sense of responsibility. Here is a portrait of Bradley as he was in college, before his time with the New York Knicks and his election to the U.S. Senate―a story that suggests the abundant beginnings of his professional careers in sport and politics.
least, it carries over into Bradley’s life. The very word “alternatives” bobs in and out of his speech with noticeable frequency. Before his Rhodes Scholarship came along and eased things, he appeared to be worrying about dozens of alternatives for next year. And he still fills his days with alternatives. He apparently always needs to have eight ways to jump, not because he is excessively prudent but because that is what makes the game interesting. The reverse pivot, of course, is just one of
that the conquest of pain is essential to any seriously sustained athletic endeavor. In 1963, he dressed for a game against Harvard although he had a painful foot injury. Then, during the pre-game warmup, it bothered him so much that he decided to give up, and he started for the bench. He changed his mind on the way, recalling that a doctor had told him that his foot, hurt the night before at Dartmouth, was badly bruised but was not in danger of further damage. If he sat down, he says, he would
Park would be North Carolina State, which happened to be celebrated for its zone press, a defensive tactic designed to rattle the enemy into submission by harassing its players in all parts of the court. The North Carolina State zone press had beaten Duke’s outstanding team, reason enough for Princeton to worry. Bradley and van Breda Kolff went into New York to participate in a TV show two days before the game. On the way home, they decided that the Princeton team needed more confidence and
concentrated his efforts on race relations, tax reform, water resources, children’s health, global politics, and international trade. He gave up his seat after eighteen years in order to place himself in what he regarded as a more favorable position from which to seek a loftier job. Lan Washington While some people thought he was going into retirement, the only thing about him that was hung up to dry was his number 24, which he had worn as a starter on the Knickerbockers’ only championship
and politics. This note is written here so that no reader coming upon the book for the first time will expect other contents. J.A.McP. BY JOHN MCPHEE Annals of the Former World Irons in the Fire The Ransom of Russian Art Assembling California Looking for a Ship The Control of Nature Rising from the Plains Table of Contents La Place de la Concorde Suisse In Suspect Terrain Basin and Range Giving Good Weight Coming into the Country The Survival of the Bark Canoe Pieces of