Bill Bradley - Highly-paid Rookie
With a contract worth half a million dollars, Bradley became one of the best-paid rookies in the NBA. He would not, however, repeat the leading role of his college days, but rather served as an important contributor among a team of stars. Playing with starters Dave De-Busschere, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Dick Barnett, as well as with reserves Jerry Lucas and Phil Jackson, he was part of a team that twice defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to earn the NBA championship, first in 1970 and again in 1973. Bradley's demeanor and lifestyle once again set him apart from his teammates, who gave him the nickname "Dollar Bill" because of his frugality, saying that he probably had the first dollar he ever earned. Avoiding the notorious Manhattan nightlife that was enjoyed by so many players, Bradley used his spare time to support social and environmental causes.