If you look back at the 1986 NBA draft, there was a player who was said to have a great NBA career. Some people even said that he was better than Michael Jordan. That basketball player was Len Bias.
When Bias was drafted, he was ready to start his NBA career. But unfortunately, he never got a chance to fulfill his dream because he died in June of 1986 just two days after the NBA draft.
Len Bias was a top player in college
Bias is a native of Maryland, and after high school, he decided to attend the University of Maryland. He spent four seasons at Maryland and blossomed into one of the best players in all of college basketball.
As a freshman, Bias played in 30 games and started in 13 games and averaged 7.1 points per game. Bias saw his production increase over the next three seasons. During his sophomore season, Bias became a starter for Maryland and averaged 15.3 points per game while shooting 56 percent from the field. At 6-foot-9, Bias used his size to his advantage. He could score in multiple ways and started to become one of the best players in college basketball.
As a junior, Bias was named to the First-team All-ACC team, and he also was named the ACC Player of the Year. That season he averaged 18.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He also was named a Consensus second-team All-American his junior year. When Bias went into his senior season, he was poised to have another successful season, and he did just that. As a senior, Bias was named the ACC Player of the Year for the second straight season and was named to the Fist-team All-ACC team again. Bias was a Consensus first-team All-American as a senior and was named the ACC Athlete of the Year.
After a successful college season, Bias was projected to be a top pick in the 1986 draft. Bias was soon to start his NBA career and fulfill a life-long dream that many people don’t get the opportunity to do.
Len Bias drafted by the Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics were big on Bias. At the time, Celtics scout Ed Badger said that Bias was an explosive player, and he compared him to Michael Jordan. There was no question that he was going to be a top draft pick.
When the 1986 draft came, the Boston Celtics selected him with the second overall pick. The Celtics were ready to have Bias join the team and make an immediate impact. Fans in Boston could not wait to see Bias play.
The tragic death of Len Bias
A few days after the NBA draft, Bias realized that he was going to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. When he returned home to Maryland, he went back to school to hang out with some teammates and friends.
On Thursday, June 19, 1986, Bias went to a gathering that occurred off-campus late at night. There he and several of his teammates from college were dealing with cocaine and were ingesting it into their bodies. Bias reportedly collapsed and had a seizure, and he was unconscious and not breathing. When he got to the hospital, doctors did all they could but could not bring him back to life. Bias died a few days after he was drafted by the Celtics.
People will never know how well Bias could have been in the NBA. It was a shame to see his life taken away like that because he was a person with so much potential. His tragic death will never be forgotten in the sports world. If he lived to play in the NBA, he could have given Michael Jordan and run for his money.