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YouTube Gold: A Len Bias Documentary

A difficult and very sad time for Maryland and the entire ACC.

Maryland Len Bias, 1986 NCAA Playoffs
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: College Basketball: NCAA playoffs, Maryland Len Bias (34) in action, getting rebound vs UNLV, Long Beach, CA
SetNumber: X32831

The 1980’s were almost certainly peak ACC. UNC and NC State had won national championships. Virginia had Ralph Sampson and made the Final Four without him. Clemson was tough. Bobby Cremins had Georgia Tech humming. Duke was rising fast under Mike Krzyzewski. And Maryland had the Len Bias era.

As this documentary says, Coach K once said that two players stood out to him while he coached at Duke: Michael Jordan and Len Bias.

Bias was at times otherworldly, ethereal. He was on a different plane than normal athletes. Heck, he was on a different plane from superb athletes.

The classic Bias play was the jumper-then-a-steal-and-reverse-dunk vs. UNC but as you’ll see in this documentary, he did phenomenal things all the time. The bit with Virginia’s Olden Polynice was great and quite possibly Polynice never talked trash to anyone again.

Of course, Bias died tragically and by his own hand, overdosing on cocaine on draft night in 1986.

His mother, Lonise, worked hard to find something positive in his loss, worked with young people to prevent anyone else from dying that way. In an unimaginably cruel twist, Len’s brother, Jay, was shot dead at 20. He died in the same hospital Len did.

It’s hard not to think about his mother and how difficult losing first one son then the other must have been just brutal. She talks about that a bit here with immense calmness and grace. She’s a remarkable woman.

Final word on this: if you have children or know young people, make sure they understand that Fentanyl is creeping into nearly every drug. Anyone who uses drugs today is taking a much more dangerous gamble than Bias did.