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On 11/3/2009 at 8:42 PM, jparrott said:

Len Bias. I was 8 and playing in my yard when I heard. Grew up a lot that day. The ESPN doc airing right now brings a lot of that back.

On 6/19/2016 at 8:12 PM, Pat said:

30 years ago today. I remember this so vividly. I was a grad student at Maryland.  We got a notice in our mailboxes not to talk to the media.  I watched him play at Cole Field House a few times.  He wore a fur coat to walk across campus. I remember someone pointing him out to me once.

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In this post, I justifiably poked fun at the sports media for proclaiming every "next great thing" as "The [X] Jordan" - Harold Miner was "Baby Jordan," Tamir Goodman was "Jewish Jordan,"  etc.

Len Bias could have been the next Michael Jordan, and was quite possibly the only player I've ever seen in my life who was *that good*.

Like when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, I remember exactly where I was, and exactly what I was doing, when I heard the news of Len Bias's tragic death - the two events happened only six-months apart.

To young people today: I realize it's premature to even infer such a thing, but Len Bias was one of the greatest college basketball players I've ever seen. When he was drafted by the Boston Celtics, and then died from an overdose of crack cocaine, none other than Red Auerbach (who said he'd been planning for *three years* to draft Bias for the Celtics), said the city of Boston had not been so shocked since the assassination of John F. Kennedy

Larry Bird, who had urged the Celtics to select Bias, and who had uniquely made plans to attend the Celtics' rookie camp to work with him, said, "It's horrible. It's the cruelest thing I ever heard."

At 6'8", Bias was bigger and stronger than Jordan, and had everything you could possibly ask for in someone of that height. He had no weaknesses that couldn't have been fixed in short order, and when I'm in my old age, I will be telling this same story. Len Bias had all the tools he needed to be one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived. It isn't so much that he would have been the *next* Jordan; it's that he would have been Jordan's primary competition: Just as we had Bird and Magic, we would have had Jordan and Bias - he *was* *that* *good*.

"Remembering Len Bias 30 Years After His Death: 'He Was It.'" by Cindy Boren on washingtonpost.com

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Here are two fascinating videos. You'll need to overlook the gentleman's mispronunciation of Auerbach in the first video, but the substance of what he says is absolutely correct:

I disagree with the title, because you can't say "Bias was better than Jordan," but *I* can say that Bias was every bit as good as Jordan in college. In fact, this game is mentioned in the above video - in 1984, Bias was a sophomore, and Jordan was a senior. This is an important, historic video.

Anyone over the age of 40 who followed ACC basketball is going to be lamenting this for the rest of their lives. Bias was *GREAT*, and as good as he was as a sophomore, he just kept getting better and better over the next two years. 

(Make sure you watch the final play of the game: shades of things to come).


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