Bill Bradley our former team-member turns 70. He was born in Crystal City, Missouri, in 1943 and from that little town in the midwest of the United States he took off toward a great and successful life. He’s been a U.S. Senator for the state of New Jersey, a Democratic candidate to the White House and, in basketball, he had a spectacular career at Princeton, won the Gold Medal at the 1964 Olympics, won two NBA championships with the New York Knicks, was elected to the Hall of Fame and, last but not least for us, he was a big part of the first-ever European championship won by Olimpia in 1966. Bradley recently met the great Arthur Kenney, the first player in the history of our club to have his number (18) retired. They talked at length for a book which’ll be published in November, INDIMENTICABILE: Cesare Rubini, un guerriero dello sport (“A sport warrior”). Here you’ll find in three installments, excerpts of what the legendary Bill Bradley had to say:
“My year in Milano was a very important year in my life. I was the team’s European Cup of Champions player, and the frequency of our games was initially 2-times per month. I was commuting from Oxford where unfortunately they had no basketball court. When I would commute-down from Oxford to Milan I would practice for 2 or 3 days with the team. Because of the lack of availability of a practice facility at Oxford, my weight rose above my optimum playing weight.
“I learned the importance of home-court advantage in the Euopean Cup in which the cumulative point differential of the home and home series (or total aggregate points for the two games) determines the winner of the series. Against Prague in Milan we won by about 17 points, but when we played in in Prague we lost by about 19 points. The Milanese press was brutal in its criticism of the way I played. The comments read, ‘Who does Bradley think he is to come here and not to be in tip-top form, how dare he be overweight!’.. In hindsight, I was grateful for the negative criticism by the press of my play. The criticism made me determined to get in the best shape possible, and I set a goal of losing 20 pounds before the Finals and achieved my goal and then some, even before my deadline. I do feel that I owe the Italian Press a debt of gratitude for helping me to getting me to focus on what I needed to do. I think it is the only time in my playing career that I found criticism by the press to have been helpful to me.”
(1-to be continued)