Bill Bradley '65 is without question the greatest basketball player ever to play for Princeton, and he may very well be the finest athlete of any kind the school has produced.
A three-time All-America in the 1960’s, Bradley was also the captain of the 1964 gold-medal-winning United States Olympic men’s
basketball team. He won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete.
Bradley, a three-term U.S. Senator from New Jersey, scored 2,503 points in his career. He did this in just three years (freshmen weren’t eligible) and with no three-point shot.
Princeton won three league championships during his three years. Princeton earned its only Final Four berth his senior year, and the 58 points Bradley scored in a 118-82 win over Wichita State in the national consolation game are still the most points ever scored in an NCAA Final Four game.
Bradley was born July 28, 1943, in Crystal City, Mo. He hit .315 as the first baseman for the baseball team as a sophomore, but it was in basketball that he made his biggest mark.
Bradley averaged 27.3 points per game as a sophomore and then better than 30 points per game as a junior and a senior. He remains the only Tiger to average better than 30 points per game for a single season.
He has the top 11 scoring games in Princeton history and is the only Tiger to top 40 points in a game (he did it 11 times).
His NCAA tournament average of 33.7 points ranks second all-time, behind only Austin Carr of Notre Dame (41.3, 1969-71). The 58 he scored against Wichita State were an NCAA single-game record at the time (regular season or NCAA tournament), and they remain the second-highest total ever scored in an NCAA tourney game behind the 61 that Carr scored against Ohio in 1970.
Bradley went from Princeton to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He then played for the New York Knicks for 10 years, winning two NBA championships in the process. His No. 42 was retired in Oct. 2008 across all Princeton teams alongside the same number worn by Dick Kazmaier ’52, the winner of the 1951 Heisman Trophy. The Knicks also retired Bradley’s No. 24.
Bradley, who also served as an Air Force Reservist from 1967 to 1978, served 18 years as a U.S. Senator and ran for President in 2000. He was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.
About Bill Bradley
• Princeton’s all-time leading scorer with 2,503 points, accomplished in three seasons without a three-point shot
• Has 11 highest single-game scoring totals in school history
• Captain of 1964 gold medal-winning Olympic basketball team
• 1965 Sullivan Award winner as nation’s outstanding amateur athlete
• Member of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
• Member of two NBA championship teams with the New York Knicks
• Rhodes Scholar
• Three-term U.S. Senator from New Jersey
• Uniform number retired in Oct. 2008
• Named among NCAA Tournament's top 75 all-time players, Dec. 2012