A Sense of Where You Are

By John McPhee




The story of Bill Bradley is a fascinating one.  He was the highest recruited high school player since Wilt Chamberlain.  While he was in line to register at Duke, he decides he would rather go to Princeton, even though Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships.  He becomes a 3-time All-American and the 3rd highest scorer in NCAA history and while playing with teammates of limited ability, he leads them to the 1965 Final Four, where he scores a NCAA record 58 points, re-writing the record books.  He finishes as a straight-A student and puts his NBA career on hold, going to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.  He plays 10 years with the New York Knicks, wins 2 championships, and gets inducted into the basketball hall of fame and becomes a U.S. Senator and 2000 Presidential candidate.

That alone makes for a great story.  McPhee focuses primarily on his senior year in college, and details Bradley's work ethic and game.  The book is written for those who know little about basketball, which took away from my reading experience.  Instead of being patronizing, it feels like the author really does not understand basketball as well.  Also, while Bradley in a fascinating subject, it comes across as a love sonnet written by a guy with a schoolgirl crush.

It is very short (144 pages of written material) with numerous pictures.  Read it because Bradley is an athlete from a different mold, but understand that the book could have been so much more.

Introspection:  3
Insight:  4
History:  1961-1965
Readability:  5

A Sense of Where You Are: A Profile of Bill Bradley at Princeton.  John McPhee.  The Noonday Press.  1965.


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