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Life on the Run Paperback – May 2, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Almost two decades after its original publication and more than fifteen years after its author retired from the New York Knicks to become a United States senator, this account of twenty days in a pro basketball season remains a classic in the literature of sports, unparalleled in its candor and intelligence. Bill Bradley is also the author of Time Present, Time Past, a memoir of his years in the U.S. Senate.

Review

"A thinking man's guide to basketball [with] fascinating insights into the author himself."

-- Wall Street Journal



"A remarkable book written by a remarkable man."

-- Sporting News
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679762086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679762089
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Schlesinger (davidsles@erols.com) on May 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bradley's memoir of the waning games in the New York Knicks' 1973-74 season (the season after they won their second NBA championship) contains many observations about professional sports that, unfortunately, continue to ring true today: the shameless exploitation of undereducated athletes by agents and comparable parasites; the intrinsic harshness of an itinerant existence during a roadtrip on the West Coast; the grueling physical and mental demands of the NBA regular season; the evanescent nature of fan support. Given all of the above, why then would anyone want to play NBA basketball? Well, Bradley also does a fine job of describing the many thrills an athlete can derive from, among other things, being exhalted by home fans; winning a championship; and being part of a selflless team unit that manages to sublimate individualistic tendancies in its pursuit of greater goals. Bradley's book, from what I can gather, was revolutionary for its time in that it eschewed the type of hagiographic approach that many writers took toward the world of professional sports and ablely demonstrated the myriad difficulties associated with being a player in the nation's largest media spotlight. It should be a must- read for all aspiring NBA players -- especially those players who are considering foregoing several (or all) years of their collegiate eligibilities to make a fast buck. They should be forewarned: "All that glitters isn't gold."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B Weg on December 27, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With all the hoopla surrounding Bradley's potential run at the presidency, this book offers unique insight from a non-politics perspective. It chronicles the last few weeks of a Knick's season, and all the emotion that comes with it. Also, Bradley provides commentary on a variety of topics which are still very relevant... i.e. the formation of the NBA Player's Association. The book reads very well, and there is interesting background coverage of Bradley's teammates, many of whom are well-known today. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone - from sports buff to the just curious. It is awesome!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bill Bradley's account of three weeks in the life of an NBA team in the '70's is as much a stunningly insightful social commentary as it is a nice, easily-rambling, "On the Road"-style ride. Beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on April 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Bill Bradley was one of the most famous and revered athletes in America in the 1960s. It's hard to remember this today because he didn't leave much of a sports legacy, nor, for that matter, much of a legacy as a U.S. Senator.

Bradley wrote this book to document himself at a particular time in his life: near the end of his pro basketball career as he pondered what to do with the wealth, fame, and credibility that he had accumulated. The book has some aspects of a sports tell-all, in the sense that he mentions sex with groupies, taking lots of pain medication, and the increasingly bitter fights between players and owners about salaries, unionization, etc. But it's not a salacious book. Details are withheld, which is the right way to do things.

Perhaps the best parts of the book are the short portraits of Bradley's key teammates: Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere, Phil Jackson, etc. Bradley succeeds with the light touch of giving some information, but not doing too much. We learn about their lives off the court, as they pursue business deals and think carefully about their public image --- especially the Black players who have access to unimagined opportunities, but yet still must contend with a racist society. Bradley lets those players talk about racism, and he shows it with small anecdotes, such as a white father in Houston who won't take a step towards a black mom of his son's junior high basketball teammate, in order to shake hands. In these ways, Bradley whets your appetite to read a long magazine story or even a memoir by those players.

Bradley also does a nice job of explaining the loneliness and rigors of life on the road. Those were the days of playing 5 away games in 6 days and traveling on commercial flights, not charters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bill Bradley's Life on the Run is an insightful and thoughtful account of what it was like to be a professional basketball player in the mid-1970s. Bradley writes about a bygone era--one where all the players weren't multimillionaires, teams traveled commercial, there was no ESPN and media oversaturation and players roomed together. While some things have changed since the book was published nearly 35 years ago, many of the things are the same.

Bradley, a star at Princeton, chose to attend Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar for two years before joining the New York Knicks in the NBA. He thought he wouldn't play professionally, but he realized he missed the game while at Oxford.

Bradley was the symbol of the Christian, scholar/athlete, but he says much of that image was overblown. "I studied, practiced and went to church, but the media exaggerated each facet of my life until expectations were such that I could never fulfill. The greater the acclaim, the more certain it was that the public appetite could never be satisfied. The only way out, I thought, was to reject basketball and become a lawyer or businessman."

Bradley says being a professional athlete is a mixed blessing. He shows both sides of the coin in his book. He tells how players spend their days (and yes it's boring much of the time), how they cope with physical exertion, travel and constant aches and pains. He provides interesting profiles of his teammates and says that on many teams friendship is overblown and even hypocritical.

Unlike most players today, Bradley was obsessed with team basketball and not individual statistics. "I do not depend on the outside for recognition," writes Bradley. "The press and public approval mean little to me.
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