Bill Bradley's Princeton days were famously covered by John McPhee. Later, Bradley wrote books himself, notably Life on the Run. Lesser known but still intriguing is Jack Mann's 1966 SI bonus piece on Bradley at Princeton:
After the Michigan game in the Holiday Festival, Bradley had nowhere to hide. The cult increased a hundredfold that week, and he became a public issue. Whether the public wanted to know or not, it had to be told how many left-handed hook shots Bradley took in warming up, how many inches behind his right foot he positioned his left for a foul shot and to what extent his jump shot was an imitation of Jerry West's. Bradley got through such interviews with only a mild case of ennui, because he likes to talk about basketball. But then he had to move on to the next phase—the one that makes him relish being at Oxford, an asylum of anonymity. Reporters peeked under uniform No. 42 and found a human being the likes of which they had never seen in a locker room. First of all, he called everybody Mr. This is not unprecedented. Ron Fairly, for instance, did it for almost a week after he got his bonus from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Bradley continues to do so even when he is asked not to ("it's like biting your fingernails: a hard habit to break"). He was a guy wise for his years without being a wise guy, religious without being an evangelist. He seemed, in a four-letter Anglo-Saxon word long dulled by misuse, good. It couldn't be that simple, but reporters kept failing to uncover flaws. Replying to questions, with a firmness so gentle that few noticed he wasn't answering at all, his soft answers turned away wrath like James Stewart in Harvey, saying, "What did you have in mind?" When asked what he meant when he said he wanted to be of service to his fellow man, Bradley said:
"Don't you think sir, that there are some things a man ought to keep to himself?" He was telling reporters to mind their business, and they were charmed by his manner.
"Beautiful," said one veteran New York newspaperman after his first interview with Bradley. "Of course, there isn't anybody like that." Said another, usually not given to praise: "In 25 years or so our Presidents are going to have to be better than ever. It's nice to know that Bill Bradley will be available."
Bradley kept some things to himself, but the extrapolations continued. Well before his 22nd birthday Bradley had been placed in jeopardy of being marked a failure if he were not at least governor of Missouri by his 40th birthday. The projections were truly absurd, therefore embarrassing, and they forced the partial withdrawal of a naturally social personality.