“Rolling Along: Bill Bradley,” an oral autobiography of the life and career of former star New York Knicks player and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, has been acquired by Max and will begin streaming on the service Feb. 1.
Directed by “The Last Dance” executive producer Mike Tollin and executive produced by Spike Lee and Frank Oz, “Rolling Along: Bill Bradley” is the live theatrical recording of a stage performance by Bradley, who spent six years writing and developing the show. “Rolling Along,” which incorporates archival footage, was filmed over four nights at the Signature Theatre in New York, with an audience and five cameras at New York’s Signature Theater in 2021.
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In the film, the former NBA champion and U.S. Senator shares scenes from his life, from his childhood in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River; to Princeton, where he became the best college basketball player in the country; to a Hall-of-Fame career with the New York Knicks; to his 18 years in the U.S. Senate, focused on civil rights, education, and economic growth, and his bid for the presidency of the United States.
“I’m thrilled to announce the release of “Rolling Along: Bill Bradley” on Max,” says Bradley. “My hope is people will see a story that’s really about all of us — a story about love of the game of basketball and love of our country; a story of forgiveness and perseverance, triumph and loss, joy and sadness. I hope it’ll encourage others to share their stories, too, which can be a healing experience.”
“Rolling Along: Bill Bradley” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2023.
Tribeca festival director Cara Cusumano has praised the film for paying tribute to the act of storytelling, suggesting that, “in our times of division and uncertainty, perhaps we can all learn something from Bradley’s stories about perseverance, acceptance, and unity.”
Tollin has extensive experience working on sports docs, including ESPN’s Emmy winning doc series about Michael Jordan, “The Last Dance,” and worked with Bradley for roughly four years to shape “Rolling Along.”
“What proved to be most striking about working with Bill was how vulnerable he was willing to be in the storytelling,” Tollin observed. “As it’s been said, ‘vulnerability is invincibility.’ In ‘Rolling Along,’ Bill describes with the utmost candor his deepest fears and insecurities, revealing a side of himself that audiences will find surprising and illuminating.”
Bradley drew support from Knicks super fan Lee after performing his one-man show for the director at his office in Brooklyn.
“My brother Bill Bradley, in addition to being a key ingredient of those glorious two-time NBA World Championship New York Knicks, is even more importantly a great American through the work he did as a U.S. Senator,” says Lee. “I was honored when ‘Dollar Bill’ asked if he could come to my Fort Greene, Brooklyn, office to do his one-man show for me. Of course I agreed, asking what he needed to perform it. The answer was just a stool and a bottle of water. Bill did the whole show for me and at one point I started to tear up. Right then I knew that I wanted to be an executive producer.”
Oz adds: “People who appreciate my work have no interest in hearing about my worldview, but they do have interest in the world view of someone who has lived much of his life navigating the layers of power with the intent of championing the interests of others. I saw an opportunity for me to support our shared values, through Bill, by using the tools and instincts I’ve gained from directing and producing movies over the past 40 years.
“My hope is that Bill’s words will cause viewers to realize that the simplest way for all of us imperfect humans to get along would be to minimize our self-serving xenophobic instincts and instead listen to our generous instincts with an eye to understanding each other,” he continues. “I know that sounds Pollyanna, but I don’t know any other impact that would be of greater value.”
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