Sir Donald Bradman, often known by his nickname “The Don”, is one of Australia’s most iconic and fondly remembered sporting legends. Even outside of Australia, he is known by cricket enthusiasts as one of the greatest batsman’s to have ever played the sport professionally.
His revered status was well-earned, with a batting average at 99.94 that is often cited to be one of the most excellent records in sporting achievement internationally.
In this sense, Bradman is one of the key figures who set the tone for Australia being known as a competent sporting nation from the outset. In many ways, he is responsible for a default setting in the Australian public consciousness that we are a nation that produces superior athletes, and a country that holds values of sportsmanship above all else.
Bradman was known for an aggressive style of cricket that made it entertaining for spectators and forced Australia’s historic rivals in England to adjust their strategy specifically to thwart him. Unlike precious cricket stars, Bradman was the first to earn real celebrity status and this often unintentionally put him at odds with others in his team who felt he soaked up all the glory.
After he retired from professional cricket, Bradman remained one of the most highly-sought-after advisors and commentators within the sport. He acted as a prolific writer and administrator within the game for up to 30 years after his retirement.
In 1997, then Prime Minister John Howard referred to Bradman as the “greatest living Australian”. His image is iconic and has been memorialised in many different ways from postage stamps to statues and other memorabilia.
Bradman died in 2001 at the age of 92, and his funeral was attended by many of his colleagues as well as politicians from both sides of the political aisle. Bradman is forever remembered as one of the greatest Australian sportsmen and is still revered as an inspiration for cricketers both young and old today.