Bill Bradley - Presidential Candidate
After initially denying his interest in running for president, Bradley became a candidate in 1999. He acknowledged that the timing of his decision had hinged on both political goals and personal circumstances. His wife, Ernestine Schlant, a professor of comparative literature at Montclair State College, had finished writing a book and their daughter Theresa Anne was graduating from college. He wanted to prove himself as the best candidate for president, in terms of both policy and ethics, and presented himself as a markedly different choice from Al Gore. In the words of a Newsweek writer, he was "a kind of Anti-Clinton: a legendary jock who doesn't crave approval, an intellectual who's not afraid to think big, a grown-up with nothing to hide." But Bradley had not won a primary when he withdrew from the presidential race in March 2000. He credited his loss in part to the interest voters showed in a Republican rival, John McCain.
The 2000 presidential campaign amplified an image that Bradley initially developed on the basketball court. In his dedication to his teams and his country, he is known as a diligent worker, a leader as well as a team player, and as someone who keeps his own counsel and lives by his own high standards. While Bradley does not often draw attention to his achievements on the court, his collegiate performance, including the standing record for most points in a Final Four game, still places him among the best in the sport. In a post-election interview, Sporting News writer Jeff D'Alessio asked Bradley to comment on changes in the sport of basketball. He suggested that college players be kept out of competition as freshmen and said that players no longer know how to shoot. The remarks reinforce the idea that while Bradley may have changed careers, his interests and values have stayed the same.