"Values of the Game" book
by Ron Kurtus (21 December 2011)
Former U.S. Senator and all-star professional basketball player Bill Bradley wrote the Values of the Game, a book that explains the positive character traits required to be a winner in sports, as well as in life.
Bradley went to college at Princeton University, where he was a three time All-American basketball player. He then received Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University in Great Britain. After finishing school, he later joined the New York Knicks professional basketball team and helped them win the NBA championship. After retirement from professional basketball, Bradley was the U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1979 to 1997.
Known for his tremendous work ethic and high standards of character, Bradley wrote the Values of the Game in 1998, which summarizes his philosophy for winning in sports and in life. His book lists ten key character traits, how they relate to his experiences playing basketball and how they can be applied to life.
I've summarized the main points in the book and organized them into personal and social character traits. The book provides good lessons on applying character traits.
Questions you may have include:
- What is the background of Bradley?
- What personal character traits does Bradley encourage?
- What personal social traits are stated?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Bill Bradley started playing basketball in the 4th grade and soon came to love the sport. His passion for playing basketball was so great that it was the only thing he really wanted to do. He had the size and physical skills to be a good player. But it was his character traits that led him to greatness.
Bradley was also intelligent and an outstanding student. His positive character traits helped him succeed in school, as well as in his political career.
In his book, Bradley spoke about the ten character traits that he felt were valuable in success and winning.
Personal character traits
Seven of Bill Bradley's values of the game are Personal Character traits:
Bradley had an extreme passion for basketball. He loved playing the game and spent hours practicing by himself. Most great players love to play the game and have a great passion for it. You need passion in what you do.
Note: Passion does not seem to be a character trait that can be learned. Bradley had an almost obsessive love for playing basketball. Not everyone can have such a passion for an activity. A better expression would be enthusiasm, which is a character trait that can be developed. You can be enthusiastic about almost any activity, even though you may not like doing it.
A good player must have the discipline to practice extensively. The need for discipline also applies to conditioning. Another part of discipline is skill development. You must have determination to have discipline. When you overcome adversity with self-discipline and win a hard-fought battle, you have a great feeling.
There is an expression that winning brings out the best in people who are good and the worst in people who are not. You need to maintain a perspective about winning and success so that you do not get a big head about it.
Perspective is an attitude toward your role in success, as well as your status with respect to others. Perspective is not being caught up in success but rather being humble about it.
Courage is not the same thing as fearlessness. In sports, courage means giving 100 percent for the game, even sacrificing yourself for your teammates. Sometimes you see courage in basketball games when sick or injured players stay in the game for the good of the team.
Some people will offer excuses for their failures, maybe even blaming other players. You should take full responsibility. If you fail, say, “The next time, I will do better.” That is taking responsibility for your actions.
Resilience is meeting with triumph and disaster. It is knowing how to handle adversity. Whether you are playing sports on a team or working on a project by yourself, you need to be resilient and be able to bounce back.
The character trait of being imaginative and creating innovations is not being afraid trying something new. It is also using your imagination to maximize your skills.
Social character traits
Social character traits in Bradley's values of the game are:
When you help someone else, you help yourself. Teams that win championships do so through a high degree of teamwork. This is attainable only through selflessness of each of its players. A team with unselfish players works together well and is being able to defeat opponents that may not have the same character.
You should show respect to your teammates and opponents. This will help you develop a mutual respect for each other.
Leadership is bringing out the best in other people. You can often lead by example.
Former U.S. Senator and all-star professional basketball player Bill Bradley wrote the Values of the Game book that explained the positive character traits required to be a winner in sports, as well as in life. Known for his tremendous work ethic and high standards of character, Bradley's book summarizes his philosophy that consists of ten key character traits, how they relate to his experiences playing basketball and how they can be applied to life.
Play ball with character
Resources and references
Values of the Game by Bill Bradley; Crown Business (2000) $10.95
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"Values of the Game" book