NBA TV Presents “Teammates Forever: Bradley and DeBusschere"
Posted Dec 19 2005 5:53PM
-- Original Documentary Debuts Dec. 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET Chronicling the Bond Between Knicks Legends Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere--
SECAUCUS, N.J., Dec. 19, 2005– NBA TV will present Teammates Forever: Bradley and DeBusschere, a compelling look at the camaraderie between Knicks legends and Hall of Famers Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley with a world premiere Dec. 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET. The 30-minute special chronicles the significant impact Dave DeBusschere had as a teammate and close friend on Bill Bradley as conveyed by Bradley’s first-person narrative through recent interviews with Bradley and archival interviews by Debusschere.
The original NBA TV documentary, a heartfelt tribute to DeBusschere from Bradley, highlights the special bond of friendship between the two NBA greats and includes rare historical footage of the Knicks during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
One of the Ivy League’s greatest scorers, Bradley, a Rhodes Scholar and Princeton grad, was touted as the “Great White Hope” who was to be the savior of the declining Knicks when he joined the team in 1967. Regrettably, in his rookie campaign he did not perform to his potential and was vilified by the New York fans. Bradley, who was embarrassed about the publicity he received and his performance, was considered a failure.
Thirty years ago on Dec. 19, 1968, the Knicks’ acquisition of Detroit Pistons forward Dave DeBusschere, sparked a discernible change in Bradley as well as his teammates. While DeBusschere brought to the Knicks a tenacity and unselfishness that helped the ball club become a better team, his most profound impact may have been his mentorship and friendship with Bradley. “Dave was the old pro. He showed me the ropes in the NBA,” recalled Bradley. “I think he taught me not to take myself so seriously. That I was one of the guys and everybody liked me and wanted me to be on the team and thought I could contribute and therefore relax and play the game.”
The Knicks became heralded for their unselfish play and turned into the darlings of the Big Apple rewarding their loyal fans by capturing the NBA Championship over the Lakers in the 1970 Finals. Teammates Forever: Bradley and DeBusschere showcases the pivotal Game 5 of this celebrated series when Knicks’ MVP center Willis Reed was forced to leave the game with a leg injury. It is up to DeBusschere to guard Wilt Chamberlain, the NBA’s most physically dominating player. In an extraordinary performance the Knicks upset the Lakers and go on to win their first NBA Championship in a seven game series.
The final segment of Teammates Forever: Bradley and DeBusschere delves into both men’s retirement from the game, and their lives and friendship after basketball. Their bond stands the test of time as we see them together at various events and on the campaign trail when Bradley is elected to the U.S. Senate in 1979. When DeBusschere unexpectedly suffers a heart attack and dies on May 14, 2003 it is his trusted friend Bradley who delivers the emotional and eloquent eulogy for his remarkable teammate and friend. In a poignant moment Bradley reveals, “I miss the fact that I can’t get on the phone and call him. I miss his calls to me. I miss not seeing him in the same way you’d miss the loss of a brother, because in a way he was my brother.”
Teammates Forever: Bradley and DeBusschere: Larry Weitzman, Supervising Producer; Jim Podhoretz and Sean Kelly, Producers and Directors; Paul Hirschheimer, Archivist and Research Director; John Marion, Associate Producer; Todd Caso, Archivist, and Joe Amati, Director of Photography Research.