With this weekend marking the 25th anniversary of the passing of my all-time favorite college basketball player, Len Bias, #34 of the University of Maryland Terrapins, I’m writing about Lenny as one of my favorite things about Washington, DC.
Yes, Washington, DC is a football town … and now more of a hockey town … and a baseball town w/ the Nats … but, at its heart, DC is a hoops heaven. So many legendary teams and players over the past few decades. But, in the minds of many, the most talented and greatest player to ever come from and play in the greater Washington, DC area was Len Bias.
I absolutely loved watching Len play … especially as he transformed from a raw, freshman player into one of the ACC’s greatest players ever. As the great Duke head coach, Coach K, eloquently stated, the two greatest players that the Duke Blue Devils faced in his many years of coaching were Michael Jordan and Len Bias. That’s about a big a compliment as possible.
Also, this weekend, there were two terrific pieces that ran about Len. One was Dave Ungrady’s wonderful article yesterday in the Outlook section of the Washington Post. Dave, a former Terp athlete, nailed it perfectly when he wrote about Len’s impact on the Univ of Maryland, DC and the nation. He also argued that Lenny should be inducted in the Maryland Terps Hall of Fame. I agree w/ him 100%. There was also the terrific ESPN 30 on 30 documentary that aired on Saturday morning. That was a brilliantly-produced documentary that was emotional and overwhelming. Plenty of tears flowed as I watched that piece.
I watched Lenny play often. And, I was there at Cole Field House in ’86 for his memorial service. I went there with one of my best friends, Kurt Helwig. It’s a day we will never, ever forget. So powerful and moving.
The strength of Len Bias’ mother, Dr. Lonise Bias, is so remarkable. She lost not only her beloved, Len, but she also lost another son, Jay, to a shooting in ’90. Yes, this wonderful lady carries on about the important issues of drug awareness and gun violence. She is a complete inspiration for her strength and resolve. We will never forget Lenny … and we will continue to be moved and inspired by Dr Bias. Peace.