It’s a shame on many levels that Len Bias died after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. The first sorrow is for his family and most of all his mother would soon lose another son, this time to a bullet.
On the more mundane basketball level, Bias would have taken the Celtics dynasty another decade into the future and he would have taken his ACC rivalry with Jordan to the NBA.
And that would have been epic.
In this video, we see that Jordan and Bias first met at 5-Star Camp, Howard Garfinkel’s labor of love that predated the AAU system and which was in many ways superior to it.
The rivalry expanded in college as Jordan and Bias began to grow into their massive talents.
Jordan got to the NBA first of course and when Boston drafted Bias, Larry Bird was so excited that he planned to go to rookie camp to work with the rising star.
It never happened of course; Bias died two days after being drafted #2 in the 1986 NBA Draft (Jordan’s UNC teammate Brad Daugherty was #1; NC State’s Chris Washburn was #3).
Bird called it “the cruelest thing I ever heard.”
With Bias, Boston would have been able to ease Bird’s burden and could have competed with the rising Bulls.
What might have been!
Above all though we ache for his mother. She did everything she could to save others after his death and then lost Jay too. Her agony must have been indescribable; so too was her strength.