I have never been a big NBA fan and the recent NBA finals didn’t change my opinions about the league. It is mostly a thug league that is heading in the wrong direction. Sure LeBron James is a great player and is good for the league. But, it was the players like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird that led the league into the glorious era that was the 1980s and paved the way for Michael Jordan. Yet there was one player that Magic and Bird paved the way for that never got the chance to play in the NBA and that is the tragic story that is Len BiasLen Bias was the arguably one of the best college basketball players ever. He was tall and skinny, but still strong and athletic. He was a great shooter who had a post presence and explosive slam dunks. Bias was an all-American selection and was the big man on campus at the University of Maryland. Bias had it all going for him, but it only lasted for a little bit longer. In 1986 after finishing his career at Maryland, Len would be entered into the NBA draft. As the NBA draft approached, the reporters broke down Len Bias’ game and made comparisons to Michael Jordan for a career that never happened. So when the 1986 NBA draft came, it was supposed to be a look into the future of the NBA. When David Stern named Len Bias as the 2nd overall pick to the Boston Celtics, It looked like the Celtic dynasty would continue. There would now be a dynamic trio in Boston of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Len Bias, who would have a long career as a Boston Celtic. But Len Bias was only a Boston Celtic for less than 48 hours.
Len Bias died tragically less than 48 hours after being drafted, the cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia from a concaine overdose. The promising career and life of a genuine young man was over. As we look back exactly 21 years later, we think about Len Bias’ poor decision and the promising future ahead of him, but we also look at the rest of the 1986 draft class and how it was stuck in the sad era of drug addictions. As we look at the potential of what Len Bias’ career could have been. We figured that he would have been an all-star and MVP type player. So as we look back at what was Len Bias, the “what if” questions pop up in our minds of what his career would have been and what really happened on that eerie June 19, 1986 morning. But the only thing we know is that we were robbed of a great talent.
Yet the tragedy didn’t stop for the Bias family, Len’s young brother Jay, who was also a promising basketball player died after getting shot in a fight four years later. Len Bias did teach one lesson though. He showed us no matter how strong you are or how much potential you have, if you do something wrong bad things can happen. We can only hope that the future NBA draftees of 2007 learned a lesson from the tragedy of Len Bias.