Bill Bradley

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William Warren "Bill" Bradley

Bradley in his early years

In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Clifford P. Case
Succeeded by Robert Torricelli

Born July 28, 1943
Crystal City, Missouri
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Ernestine Misslbeck Schlant Bradley (married 1974 to 2007, divorced)

One stepdaughter:
Theresa Ann Bradley Parents:
Warren and Susan "Susie" Crowe Bradley

Alma mater Princeton University
(Bachelor of Arts)
Worcester College, Oxford (Master of Arts)
Occupation Basketball player

Military Service
Service/branch United States Air Force Reserves

William Warren Bradley , known as Bill Bradley (born July 28, 1943), is a former American politician and a former professional basketball player. He served three terms from 1979 to 1997 as a Democrat in the United States Senate for his adopted state of New Jersey. He ran for the 2000 Democratic Party presidential nomination, which he lost by a wide margin to Vice President Al Gore, Jr., the Tennesseean who then lost in a disputed vote to Republican George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas.


Bradley was born and reared in Crystal City, a small town south of St. Louis, Missouri. He excelled at basketball from an early age and also did well academically. Her was offered seventy-five college scholarships, but declined them all to attend Princeton University in New Jersey. He won a gold medal at the 1964 United States men's Olympic basketball team and was the "Player of the Year" of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1965, when Princeton finished third in the NCAA Tournament. After graduating from Princeton in 1965, he attended Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and hence delayed a decision for two years on whether or not to play in the National Basketball Association.[1]

He retired from the NBA in 1977, and took advantage of his popularity from basketball to run to succeed Moderate Republican Clifford P. Case in the United States Senate. Case lost his primary for renomination in 1978 to the conservative Jeffrey Langley Bell (1943-2018), a political consultant, author, and presidential speechwriter. Bell ran again unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1982 but lost the party primary. Then in 2014, Bell was the Republican nominee against the victorious Democrat Cory Booker, a liberal African-American. Bradley polled 1,082,960 votes (55.3 percent) to Bell's 844,200 (43.1 percent).

Thirty-one bills which Bradley introduced in the Senate became law, including appropriations for the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Coastal Heritage Trail, and Wild and Scenic River Act. He also obtained fifteen additional acres for the Morristown Historical Park in Morristown, New Jersey.[2]

In 1984, Bradley won a second term, carrying every county, over the Republican Mary V. Mochary despite the Ronald Reagan presidential reelection in New Jersey. In 1990, in his bid for his third and final term, Bradley narrowly defeated the liberal Republican Christine Todd Whitman, who later served as governor of New Jersey.

Bradley is the author of seven non-fiction books, most recently in 2012 We Can All Do Better,[3] and he hosts a weekly radio show, American Voices, on Sirius Satellite Radio.[4]


  1. Bioguide Search (, accessed April 15, 2022.
  2. William “Bill” Bradley, former Senator for New Jersey -, accessed April 15, 2022.
  3. 'We Can All Do Better (, accessed April 15, 2022.
  4. American Voices on Sirius/XM Radio (, accessed April 15, 2022.