Tonight’s episode of Terp Talk should be a good one. Terp Talk host Bruce Posner is welcoming Kirk Fraser, director of the “Without Bias” documentary, to the show. Fellow blogger Chris Stoner is going to be on as well, along with yours truly. Hope you tune in. Those not in the Baltimore area can listen here.
Posts Tagged ‘ESPN
As you know, the documentary Without Bias debuted on ESPN last night.
I’m going to resist the urge to write a bunch of flowery prose about “Everyone Knows Where They Were When They Heard Len Bias Was Dead,” “He Could Have Been Better Than Jordan,” etc. It feels a little superfluous at this point. I’ll just say that it was sad, is sad, and will continue to be sad. I think what will always grab people is the timing, happening just two days after the draft. It’s a little like if someone won the lottery, decided to celebrate by going skydiving, and died in the air before they could cash the ticket. It was a promising life snuffed out as it passed through the doorway to greatness.
Okay, I said I would resist. I didn’t say I would be successful.
As for the movie, I thought it was pretty good, even if it generally lacked fresh insight. The reporting was comprehensive, and included a lot of familiar faces for D.C. dwellars — John Thompson, Michael Wilbon, Jim Vance, Steve Buckhantz and, of course, one Charles “Lefty” Driesell. After reading countless column inches on Bias over the years, it was interesting to see the story told in pictures. Here are some of the pictures that will stay with me for a while:
— The game footage. If he had played baseball, he would have been a “five tool” player. He was ferocious around the rim on both ends, his legs were industrial springs, he played tough defense, and he was a good teammate. And finally, the jump shot, which I had forgotten about. That thing was pure sugar.
— The stoicism of Bias’s mother
— The wrenching, almost convulsive weeping of Len’s brother Jay at Len’s funeral
— The reminder that Jay was murdered in a local mall parking lot just a couple years after Len’s passing
As for the film itself, there is some commentary about the harsh, knee-jerk drug sentencing policies that came into place after Bias’s death. Many of these policies, often referred to as Len Bias Laws, remain on the books. But other than that, the movie didn’t really offer any new perspectives. On the other hand, I’m not sure a new perspective is necessary. The story and its characters are all as compelling as ever, and that’s probably, and rightfully, the way it will always be.
Like every other sports fan who was alive in 1986, Len Bias’s death is still a mile marker on my own personal
sports landscape. More than 20 years later, his death and life still strike a chord. (See iconic image on the sidebar to your right.) Tomorrow night at 8, a new documentary called Without Bias will air on ESPN. It’s part of the network’s “30 for 30” film series.
Sports Guy and Boston Homer Bill Simmons, who masterminded the whole “30 for 30” concept, has previously lamented Bias’s death and What Could Have Been for the Celtics. It’s a good (or maybe bad) read for getting into the Bias mood.
“Without Bias” is directed by Kirk Fraser who, as I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, is the brains behind “Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown.” For truly, hers, too, was a life interrupted. (He also did “American Gangster,” which was a good movie.)
We’ll be back to share some reactions to the film Wednesday morning.
They beat us in their house last year. Now they’ve beaten us in our house this year. All this talk about revenge game, and this and that, and this is what happens. Another year, another group of Blue Raiders jubilant at Maryland’s expense. Gah. I’m gagging. Need air. I need to breathe!
Okay. Get a hold of yourself, man. Whew. So I should probably mention that I didn’t actually watch the game, mainly because it will be a cold wet day in Hades before I cough up any money to the Evil Sports Programming Network for ESPN360.com. They could put the Super Bowl on there and I still wouldn’t pony up. Fuck them. That’s right. Fuck you, ESPN. Fuck ESPN360.com. And fuck this fucked up ACC TV deal. You want my wallet, you pry it out of my dead hand.
Whoa. Okay. Breathe. I’m a little angry. The morning after and I’m still upset. I may be misdirecting a bit but I’m still salty with ESPN for doing this. Anyway, a bunch of us were getting updates from a friend via cellphone, and it looked like we had it in the bag. That is, until Middle Tennessee State drove the length of Byrd Stadium in the final moments to kick a game-winning field goal. Read that sentence again. Guess what the key play was on the drive. Cameron Chism — Nolan Carroll’s replacement — was burned for 35 yards. What was a team strength — secondary — is now a glaring weakness. Jamari McCulloch can’t come back fast enough.
Other problems: Poor tackling. Missed field goals. Turnovers, including one by backup QB Jamarr Robinson, who played a whopping three snaps but somehow managed to lose a fumble. Again, the lines were porous. And in general, the offense and defense don’t seem to be, what’s the word, functioning.
Bright spots: 287 all-purpose yards from Torrey Smith. To be fair, Chism had two interceptions. Chris Turner had 288, 2 TDs, 1 INT, although he was sacked four times. Travis Baltz had a 40.6 punting average. Rock solid!
Bottom line: Two consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee State = unacceptable. Period. Ralph Friedgen has a lot of work to do. Everyone says his job is safe because the assumption is he’s going to fulfill his contract (this season then two more) and then fade into the sunset. Fine. But right now, there’s a playing-out-the-string feel to all of this that can’t continue. Fridge seemed angry after the game. Good. I think the team can round into form during the ACC season, but it’s not gonna happen automatically. Get to work, guys. This is humiliating.
(Photo credit: AP photo/Murfreesboro Daily News Journal)