Posts Tagged ‘Len Bias

04
Nov
09

Without Bias: A Terp fan’s take

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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.

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02
Nov
09

Len Bias documentary tomorrow on ESPN

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.




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