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Len Bias - 20 years later

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Old 06-19-2006, 02:04 PM   #1
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Len Bias - 20 years later

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061801017.html

So I've been reading a bunch of Len Bias related articles in the Washington Post and ESPN.com Page 2 and I find it all very interesting. It's been 20 years since he died of a cocaine overdose just two days after being picked 2nd overall by the defending champion Celtics in the NBA draft, which means I was only 3 or 4 so I obviously don't remember it. My dad graduated from UMD in 1980 and has lead me to become a very big Terps fan, but I think Bias' story is one that is worth knowing for everyone because of the important lessons that can come from it.

Many of the sports writers I have been reading are discussing what kind of impact Bias' death has had on sports and society as a whole. In the past I've heard that his death was influencial in the "War On Drugs," which was started by Reagan in the mid-80's. I find it interesting that this discussion is being brought up again now because of the current steriod debate in baseball and the whole Big Ben/motorcycle incident last week.

I don't really know where I'm going with this thread, I just think it's all really tragic but interesting and worth reading up on.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:13 PM   #2
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

One can only imagine where he would have taken the Celtics.

Tragic story indeed.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:36 PM   #3
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

This story is a very personal one for me. I actually knew Len Bias. I grew up in the District and in my neighborhood it was always tough for the "little guys" to get on the courts to play ball or generally when you did you would be playing with guys who were so much better and bigger than you. The talent level at the playgrounds was just amazing! Anyway, me and another kid who lived on my street figured we would hike it out to Cole Field House (the old arena) to play hoops and get our game together without the inner-city pressure, if you will. It was about 15-20 munutes away from my area and his dad would drive us up there with no problem. In the process of us just shooting around in the gym, when the courts were open to the public, the Terps would take the courts to practice. We would sit in the stands for some of the practice until Lefty kicked people out. Afterward we would sneak back in and hang out to just get a glimpse of "the college athletes". As time went on we got to know some of the players and vice-versa. Of all the players we bonded with the most, Lenny took me and my boy under his wing for some reason. Herman Veal, Adrian Branch, and Keith Gatlin were really cool with us too. But Lenny was like a big brother to us! It's so wild I can't even believe, in hindsight, that I actually knew him so well. But of all the people I've had the pleasure of knowing and being around he was by far one of the most incredible people that I can remember. Very genuine and gregarious is what I remember the most.

I still remember the very place I was sitting, the way the phone rang, and who told me and how I was in utter disbelief for hours when I learned of his death. It was inconcievable!

Many in this area were making comparisons to him and Jordan at that time. Both were ACC products and had great careers. What a shame and a tradjedy. I think today's athlete is a different animal from the one back then.
But sadly enough drugs are still very much a part of our culture. I think it's hard to say how much we've learned since then.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:40 PM   #4
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

im not sure why this is a tragedy? len bias was second to none as a college bball player but he willingly used cocaine and ended paying for it with his life. the real tragedy is his mom having to cope with his death knowing that it was totally out of her control. im kind of old school, drugs are for losers
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:43 PM   #5
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmek25
im not sure why this is a tragedy? len bias was second to none as a college bball player but he willingly used cocaine and ended paying for it with his life. the real tragedy is his mom having to cope with his death knowing that it was totally out of her control. im kind of old school, drugs are for losers
The tradjedy wasn't necessarily in what he did to end his life, but of the contribution to life that was never made. Yes, he was a great athlete but even a better person. To me that's the tradjedy.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:44 PM   #6
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

That's pretty amazing 12th. My nextdoor neighbor was at UMD during Lenny's time and had the pleasure of seeing him play frequently. He was just telling me that it was really an unbelievable sight to see. He told me that Bias looked like a man amongst boys, like LeBron before he went pro excpet instead of high school kids he was dominating the ACC. It really is one of the saddest events in sports and I just wish it was more widely talked about because of the impact it could have.

Every high school and college athelete needs to know this story, and I hate to use story because I feel like is disconnects the whole thing from reality, but I can't think of anything else.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:49 PM   #7
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmek25
im not sure why this is a tragedy? len bias was second to none as a college bball player but he willingly used cocaine and ended paying for it with his life. the real tragedy is his mom having to cope with his death knowing that it was totally out of her control. im kind of old school, drugs are for losers
Maybe you're right that it's not a tragedy in the fact that it's not like he was killed in a plane crash on his way to the draft or something along those lines, but there are still important lessons that come from it.

By most accounts it seems like Bias only used cocaine once because he had taken multiple drug tests during school and prior to the draft. That goes to show people how dangerous they can be. He also probably took way more than a 'normal' person would, because he was cocky and full of himself. that reminds me of Rothelisburger (sp?) talking about why he doesn't wear a helmet.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:53 PM   #8
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

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Originally Posted by ArtMonkDrillz
That's pretty amazing 12th. My nextdoor neighbor was at UMD during Lenny's time and had the pleasure of seeing him play frequently. He was just telling me that it was really an unbelievable sight to see. He told me that Bias looked like a man amongst boys, like LeBron before he went pro excpet instead of high school kids he was dominating the ACC. It really is one of the saddest events in sports and I just wish it was more widely talked about because of the impact it could have.

Every high school and college athelete needs to know this story, and I hate to use story because I feel like is disconnects the whole thing from reality, but I can't think of anything else.
I think it shocked the nation to some extent, but it really put a dark cloud over the area and UMD program in particular. It wasn't until Gary Williams came along that things began to turn around. But to watch Bias was simply amazing. To a person who watched him compete, they would tell you he was an incredible athlete.
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:29 PM   #9
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

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Originally Posted by 12thMan
This story is a very personal one for me. I actually knew Len Bias. I grew up in the District and in my neighborhood it was always tough for the "little guys" to get on the courts to play ball or generally when you did you would be playing with guys who were so much better and bigger than you. The talent level at the playgrounds was just amazing! Anyway, me and another kid who lived on my street figured we would hike it out to Cole Field House (the old arena) to play hoops and get our game together without the inner-city pressure, if you will. It was about 15-20 munutes away from my area and his dad would drive us up there with no problem. In the process of us just shooting around in the gym, when the courts were open to the public, the Terps would take the courts to practice. We would sit in the stands for some of the practice until Lefty kicked people out. Afterward we would sneak back in and hang out to just get a glimpse of "the college athletes". As time went on we got to know some of the players and vice-versa. Of all the players we bonded with the most, Lenny took me and my boy under his wing for some reason. Herman Veal, Adrian Branch, and Keith Gatlin were really cool with us too. But Lenny was like a big brother to us! It's so wild I can't even believe, in hindsight, that I actually knew him so well. But of all the people I've had the pleasure of knowing and being around he was by far one of the most incredible people that I can remember. Very genuine and gregarious is what I remember the most.

I still remember the very place I was sitting, the way the phone rang, and who told me and how I was in utter disbelief for hours when I learned of his death. It was inconcievable!

Many in this area were making comparisons to him and Jordan at that time. Both were ACC products and had great careers. What a shame and a tradjedy. I think today's athlete is a different animal from the one back then.
But sadly enough drugs are still very much a part of our culture. I think it's hard to say how much we've learned since then.
My memory failed on one fact. It wasn't Herman Veal but a guy named Terry Long whom we knew as well.
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Old 06-19-2006, 05:06 PM   #10
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Re: Len Bias - 20 years later

some videos of him

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4qHB7TAoU...rch=len%20bias

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SvyHXqJIx...rch=len%20bias

http://youtube.com/watch?v=PsE0Th50S...rch=len%20bias
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