Real sports, expert opinions

Bill Bradley

Photo By KAYLEIGH McCOllum

Bill Bradley is a 31-year veteran of newspaper sports desks, from Phoenix to St. Paul, San Antonio to Sacramento. But last year he left the Bee and took his talents online; you can find his veteran-savvy sports coverage at, a new sports-opinion website that he’s constantly updating with smart takes, cool videos, athlete interviews and even occasional breaking news.

The Kings probably will leave. Still, who’s the future anchor of the franchise, Tyreke or DeMarcus?

I think Tyreke [Evans] is a little more grounded. And I don’t think DeMarcus [Cousins] has the maturity yet to be an anchor.

Who’s the best player in the league currently?

It’s hard not to say Kobe [Bryant]. I go back and forth. I had this conversation with Jerry Reynolds the other day; he thinks it’s Derrick Rose. You can make the argument that it’s LeBron James. I guess I always look at who does well in the clutch, and Kobe still does well in the clutch.

You’ve been a sports journalist in many U.S. cities. Have you ever experienced a sports franchise abandoning somewhere you’ve lived?

I saw the North Stars up and leave in Minnesota. From afar, in Hartford, the Whalers left. The Winnipeg Jets moved from Winnipeg down to Phoenix. So I’ve seen both ends of it. And it can really be gut-wrenching, it can be awful.

Do you own a Power Balance bracelet?

No, I do not. (Laughs.)

You post a lot of awesome videos on your site.

I’m an aggregator, in a sense. I’m looking for the best things I like and the best things I think sports readers are going to like. But eventually my goal is to partner with 26 other writers in 26 other cities around the country and have 27x7 in Phoenix, L.A., Seattle, D.C. There are journalists like me who’ve transitioned in their life but still have a big knowledge base. … There aren’t a lot of sites you can go to to get serious, seasoned, knowledgeable sports opinion.

Back to sports talk: What of the 49ers next year?

I think [Jim] Harbaugh is a great hire. I think it’ll be a down year, and I don’t think he’s going to win immediately; I think it will take him two years. But I also think that they may find a way to get Andrew Luck that second year. … I could see him pulling a Mike Ditka and just offering the entire draft just to get Andrew Luck.

Have you seen Luck play in person?

Yes, I have. Twice. I think he’s the real deal.

How about Al Davis’ Raiders?

The Raiders are such an enigma. I don’t think anybody knows what they’ll do.

Are you a Raider hater?

I’m not. I just don’t understand the Raiders. I talk to Raiders fans—and I did this a lot when I was a sports editor—and people wouldn’t complain about our coverage as much as they would complain about Al. And it’s like, “I get where your pain is.” I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on with the Raiders except for Al Davis, and even he doesn’t know what’s going on.

What of the other Oakland team, the A’s? Can they compete? Did the Giants win hurt them?

No, I think it helped them. There’s no such thing as bad competition. Competition in any business helps the other guys. … I love the A’s roster right now. They’ve got a great bullpen. They revamped their outfield. They’ve done some really cool thing in terms of their lineup. … In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised—as much as I’ve been a Giants fan—but I think the A’s could be better.

Where were you when the Giants won the series?

I was at the Kings game. I was lucky to be close enough in the lower bowl to see somebody’s TV.

How do the Giants win it all again?

I’m not convinced the Giants have what it takes to repeat. They still have the best pitching in the National League, and good pitching beats good hitting most of the time. But their batting lineup still doesn’t thrill me. I just got back from spring training, and, though I’m impressed by the depth of hitters, there still isn’t one slugger that can carry the team when it’s down. That could change if rookie Brandon Belt makes the lineup and starts at first base. That makes the lineup even deeper—and moves Aubrey Huff to left field—and gives the Giants their first power-hitting first baseman since Will Clark.

What’s your fondest Sacto sports memory?

Seeing the [Amgen] Tour of California do the trial here, downtown, was great. I’d gotten into cycling by then, but last year I did the Eppie’s Great Race. I did the time trial for the cyclist, I set the pace time the cyclists had to go by. … It was thrilling as hell. … The [bike] trail’s the best thing I’ve found in Sacramento.