Princeton vs. Michigan
Madison Square Garden, New York
December 30, 1964

It's been 37 years since this picture was taken, and Bill Bradley (no. 42) has put together an unbelievable resume: Rhodes Scholar, NBA Hall-of-Famer, two-time NBA champion with the New York Knicks, two-time Democratic Senator from New Jersey, and underdog Democratic presidential candidate. But being the long shot has always suited Bradley. That night in the old Madison Square Garden, in the semifinal round of the 1964 Holiday Festival, Michigan, led by its superstar Cazzie Russell, was the clear favorite to beat Princeton and its six-foot-five All-American Bradley. In the end, Michigan did beat Princeton, but not before Bradley put on a truly great individual performance. He dominated Russell and the entire Michigan team, scoring a game-high 41 points, pulling down nine rebounds, setting up his teammates with great passing, and playing sensational all-around defense. However, with 4:37 left in the game, Bradley fouled out. His Tigers were beating Michigan, the number-one-ranked team in the nation, by 13 points (76-63), but with Bradley watching helplessly from the bench, Michigan was able to run off a 16-1 effort and just squeak by Princeton, 80-78. Yes, Michigan had won the game, but Bradley had surely won the night. I love this picture - it brings back memories of an unforgettable game, and especially a great man - or should I say, a great underdog?


The Best of Leifer
The Best of Leifer

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