Many political figures have spent the last few years seeing how often they can show their support for the concept of family values as if anyone is against family values. Finally, someone in public life has come up with a new twist on the subject. Former Senator Bill Bradley has written a book on basketball values. Bradley's latest literary effort, Values of the Game, is about some of the qualities that go into a successful basketball player or team and how they can be applied to life in general. While he wrote the book so that parents and children can talk about the principles outlined within it, it comes off as something more interesting thoughts on why the game itself is so addicting to its participants when played properly.
Bradley always has carried the reputation as one of the most thoughtful and intelligent people ever to participate in sport's highest level. He attended Princeton University and delayed a professional career in basketball to accept a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. Later Bradley became an important part of the New York Knickerbockers teams, winning the NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.
Bradley had little difficulty moving to another phase of his life after retirement. He served three terms as the Democratic Senator from New Jersey, retiring in 1996. Bradley is said to be considering a run for the Presidency in 2000.
Despite worrying about campaign-contribution reform and the tax code for most of the past two decades, Bradley obviously has been paying some attention to basketball as well. His frequent references to today's stars and games allow him not to come off as an old-timer who is convinced his sport was played better in his day. Instead, he wants to tell people how to play the game right. That comes with equal parts passion, discipline, selflessness, respect, perspective, courage, leadership, responsibility, resilience, and imagination each of which gets its own chapter in this nicely-illustrated, oversized book. When a team comes together to combine those qualities, basketball moves from a mere game to an aesthetic pleasure for the participants.
Bradley frequently experienced such a feeling at the game's highest level; such feelings of joy probably were harder to come by in the Senate. Perhaps that's why he chose to write about basketball instead of politicswhile thinking about his next major career move. No matter what the cause, few have written about what's right with basketball as well as Bradley does.
Budd Bailey is a writer in Buffalo, New York.