Bill Bradley - Senator Bradley
Bradley retired from basketball in 1976 and was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame in 1983. But when he decided to run for public office, the former NBA star downplayed his professional sports background. To the surprise of some, he did not begin his political career at the local level. In 1978, running as a Democrat, he was elected U.S. senator for the state of New Jersey. When Bradley took office in 1979, he was the youngest sitting U.S. senator, at just thirty-five years old. During three terms in the Senate he took special interest in the issues of Third World debt, race relations, tax policy, and the Soviet Union. Having published a tax reform treatise in 1982, he played an important role in creating the 1986 tax reform bill. His other accomplishments include expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and giving Medicaid benefits to more women and children.
In 1990 Bradley was shocked when political newcomer Christine Todd Whitman came close to unseating him. The experience challenged the senator's perception of American politics and led to his retirement in early 1996. Subsequently, Bradley served as a contributor to the CBS news division and as a visiting scholar at Stanford, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Maryland. He also wrote Time Present, Time Past: A Memoir, reflecting on both of his careers.