Len Bias

rope
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Len Bias

Last night I watched Without Bias for the first time. It is still one of the great tragedies in sports. It will forever be a draft story, as the events took place only a couple of days after he went #2 in the draft.

Given his drug use, there is no guarantee Bias would have been an all timer in the pros. In the 1980s too many guys fell apart due to cocaine abuse. Watch Free Spirits, the documentary about Marvin Barnes and the Spirits of St Louis and you can see the same thing was starting to happen in the 1970's.

That being said, he was as exciting a college player as I have seen in college basketball. I know hyperbole is rampant on things like this, but he was Dominique Wilkins with a jump shot.

Of the most memorable plays I have ever seen in a basketall game was the Jesus Dunk. In this play he slammed the ball, stretched out his arms like a crucifix and hung in the air for what seemed like forever. I would be eternally grateful to anyone who could come up with a good still photo of that moment.

I remember vividly hearing the news of his death on the radio. I was sitting on a lawn chair in my back yard drinking a beer. I ran in and turned on a very young ESPN and saw the news was real. It was as unbelievable then as it is now. I sat there in shock watching the news for most of the rest of the day.

Bias would have been 51 one in a few weeks. Unfortunately, he is forever 22 in the minds of sports fans, as symbol of tragedy and a loss to anyone who was a fan of the game.


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Very true, I agree with you

Very true, I agree with you that even had he lived through that cocaine binge no guarantees he would have been a big success like many had thought. But perhaps, if he did turn out to be the next best thing, would the Celtics have won 20 titles instead of 17? We will never know.

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The assumption is he would

The assumption is he would have and it is a darn shame he didn't get to try.

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Cocaine starting to happen in

Cocaine starting to happen in the 70s? In the 70s the league could have changed his name to Cocaine Basketball League...

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It was a rich people's drug

It was a rich people's drug and they were rich people.

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I saw something great on the

I saw something great on the local news recently. I live in Gaithersburg, MD, right outside of DC. The interviewed Len Bias' mom, Dr. Lonise Bias who is a motivational speaker, consultant and teen and family life coach. Len was being inducted into the Maryland Hall of Fame. It was great to hear her talk about her son and also sad to hear her talk about his addiction. It was great to hear to Maryland was recognizing Len for his accomplishments on the basketball court. He might've been one of the all-time greats if not for his addiction.

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I was under the assumption it

I was under the assumption it wasn't an addiction?

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While they didn't use that

While they didn't use that word in the documentary, they made it seem like it was a regular part of their life.

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rope, you talked about

rope, you talked about watching basketball in the early 70s and drinking beer in 1986 when len bias died....

i turned 40 in august...nice to see someone else on here that remembers when the nba finals were shown on tape delay after the late local news.....lol..

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Sonics / Bullets in 1979 on

Sonics / Bullets in 1979 on tape delay. That was the bottom. I used to stay up late and watch the NBA on the USA Network, basically in the middle of the night in those days.

Magic and Bird changed all that, didn't they?

For what it is worth, Jack Sikma from Seattle was one of my favorite players - went to a Division III school if I remember right. I wrote him a letter back then and told him that and he sent me a signed picture and a Seattle media guide. What a cool thing to do. (I sent Marvin Webster a similar letter and he didn't respond, which was completely within his rights.)

One more Sikma related opinion - when I see Myles Turner highlights, I see Sikma. That step back jumper was a weapon.

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Unfortunately, I can also

Unfortunately, I can also remember Dick Vitale as the coach of the Pistons. One of the reasons I have never been able to take him seriously is that he was really terrible in that role.

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I'm early 40's too but being

I'm early 40's too but being UK based I'd only heard of Len Bias in the last decade or so. He was from an era when guys stayed in college until they were seniors or at least juniors so he would have been hugely NBA ready.

The conventional wisdom is that if he had lived the Celtics would have won more titles in the Bird era as Bias would have taken the mantle from Bird in due course. I think it is thought he would have been a bench player initially around Bird and McHale but would have played major minutes and got a starters role in due course.

Don't forget that the next year the Celtics drafted the equally tragic Reggie Lewis who was a 17.6ppg career player when he died. A tandem of Bias and Lewis would have been the natural succession to Bird and McHale I think personally. They would have been against the MJ Bulls but I often wonder what Lewis's Robin to Bias' Batman might have done.

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Wow what a thread. I am

Wow what a thread. I am filled with so much emotions after reading this. I was 20 years old in 1986. I was the BIGGEST Celtic fan. Boston was coming off what was considered by many as one of the best teams ever to win a Championship. Bird had just won his 3rd straight MVP. It couldn't get better right? But it was going to Despite Boston winning the title, they were blessed with the 2nd pick of what supposed to be a very loaded draft.

Len Bias was my favorite college player and the best I have ever seen till then, including Jordan. (watch Jordan vs Bias on ESPN Classic) Bias also beat number 1 ranked NC in OT in what was a defining moment of his college career. The fact that Bias had a chance to be drafted by Boston was beyond a dream for me. When Boston ended up getting the second pick, that chance became real. I went to MSG to watch the draft live and up close. I sat in the 2nd row. After Brad Daugherty went #1 to Philly, I knew we would draft Bias. And we did. the only thing I remember from that point was Bias shaking hands with 7'1 center Daugherty was that Bias' hands were so big that they wrapped over Brad's hands like Bias was the 7fter.

2 days later, Bias was dead.

The thing that kills me MORE than anything, is/was, the not knowing. Not knowing what Bias would have looked like playing an NBA game. Not knowing how well Bias and Bird would have complimented each other. the NOT knowing how many championships Boston might/would have won. Reggie Lewis was another tragedy, but at least I watched him play. At least I seen him reach a high level of play. With Bias, I have nothing.

for those that have no idea of how athletic Bias was, watch this video, and ESPECIALLY watch the 52 second mark where BIAS, from a stand-still position underneath the basket, rises up and blocks a shot, with his hand at the top of the backboard. Sounds unreal. LOOK at the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDQnsK6bpPM

at minimum Bias would have been a D Wilkins. I actually thought he could have been the forward version of Jordan. (bigger, stronger but not as quick)

But again, I'll never know.

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On a side note. Jay Bias,

On a side note. Jay Bias, Len's brother followed in his brother's footsteps and went to Maryland. He was 6'6 and no where near as gifted. But if Len's parents didn't have enough grief after the loss of Len, Jay was killed walking into a hold up at a jewelry store looking to buy a engagement ring for his fiancé.

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