Leonard Bias was a basketball player for the University of Maryland in the United States. He was a first-team All-American for Maryland during his four years on the squad.
Bias died from a cardiac arrhythmia caused by a cocaine overdose two days after being picked with the second overall choice in the 1986 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics selected Bias as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, which was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Red Auerbach, the Celtics’ president and general manager, had given the pick to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for player Gerald Henderson and cash in 1984. Len Bias and his family returned to their suburban Maryland home after the draft.
He drove back to the University of Maryland campus after going home to Maryland. Bias snorted cocaine in the dormitory apartment shared by Bias and his colleagues for the next three to four hours with longtime buddy Brian Tribble and numerous teammates.
While speaking with teammate Terry Long, Bias apparently suffered a seizure and collapsed. The emergency medical team’s attempts to restart his heart and breathing were all futile.
Bias died of a cardiac arrhythmia connected to cocaine use after more attempts to resuscitate him at Leland Memorial Hospital in Riverdale, Maryland. He had no additional narcotics or alcohol in his system, according to reports.
Len Bias early career
Bias got off to a slow start when he initially came in Maryland, but things changed with time. He only averaged 7.1 points as a freshman, appearing in 30 games and starting 13 of them.
He became a full-time starter after his freshman year and made an immediate impact on the floor. In his second year, he made considerable progress and demonstrated his scoring abilities.
He averaged 15.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in the 1983-84 season.
Bias was without a doubt the most gifted player on the floor, and he put on a show for the crowd. Bias garnered multiple awards as a youngster.
He was named ACC Player of the Year and a consensus All-American second team. Bias came back for his senior year and had his greatest season yet.
He had career highs in points (23.2) and rebounds (7.3) during the 1985-86 season (7.0). For the second consecutive season, he was voted ACC Player of the Year, as well as ACC Athlete of the Year.
NBA scouts praised Bias’ abilities and predicted that he would be a first-round choice in the forthcoming draft. He was a consensus first-team All-American after averaging 23.2 points per game as a senior.
Bias wowed basketball fans with his incredible leaping ability, physical height, and playmaking skill, and was regarded as one of the most dynamic players in the country.
Scouts from many National Basketball Association teams regarded Bias as the most complete forward in the 1986 class by his senior year.
Bias was compared to Michael Jordan by Celtics scout Ed Badger, who described him as an “explosive and dynamic kind of player.”
Len Bias better than Michael Jordan?
If Bias had lived, he could have altered the path of the NBA’s future history. Having Bias in a Celtics uniform would have maintained the team in contention for several years in the Eastern Conference.
In 1987, they had a good chance of repeating as champions. With Bias on the bench that year, Bird, McHale, Parrish, and Walton would have had to play fewer minutes, and the front line would have been healthier by the time the playoffs rolled around.
It was already the best front line in history, and adding Bias would have further increased their devastation.
It’s difficult to imagine someone greater than Michael Jordan at the same time as his career, but it’s possible that Len Bias was one of them.
Bias was the Boston Celtics’ second-round pick in the 1986 NBA draft.
“I know certainly either we would have been talking about him [Bias] as the greatest of all time, or Jordan would be on an even different level,” Walt Williams recently told Basketball Network, as reported in Marca.
“I think those guys certainly would have pushed each other to the max. The thing about Len Bias, when you compare him to Michael Jordan, I think he was a little bit ahead of Michael when they were in college with his skillset.”
“The jump shot that Bias had was just the prettiest thing you could ever see.
“He could defend multiple positions. He was a kind of a hybrid of how you see the game played now. And that’s the tragedy of not seeing a Len Bias.
“I think the game would have gravitated to where it is much quicker.”
Indeed, Williams went so far as to imply that Bias’ presence would have enhanced the game.
Many players in the NBA are attempting to follow Jordan right now. Bias would have served as a similar role model.
Len was selected as the second overall choice by the Boston Celtics. Supporters were ecstatic to watch him play in the NBA. But, as fate would have it, he never had the opportunity to do so.
Len Bias failing because of cocaine
Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose thirty years ago. Two days after the reigning NBA champion Boston Celtics selected him with the second choice of the 1986 draft.
The NBA was coming back from the cocaine period of the 1970s. Earvin Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics appeared in seven straight Finals series.
The NBA had never seen a player as dynamic as Chicago Bull Michael Jordan. Bias was on his way to join probably the greatest squad in NBA history.
It was perfect. Needless to say, his death and the circumstances surrounding it shocked the league.