Len Bias: A Mixed Legacy

Len Bias: A Mixed Legacy

Len Bias: A Mixed Legacy is a multi-part series about the legacy of former Maryland basketball star Len Bias and the importance of making the right decision. Bias, a two-time player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, was picked number two by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft. Two days later he was dead from complications of a cocaine overdose. The death greatly impacted federal drug legislation, criminal justice reform, athletics at the University of Maryland, the NBA, friends and family, and Black culture. His legacy resonates even today. The series will stress the importance of making the right decision. It is based on the book "Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias."

Episodes

June 3, 2024 8 mins

How did Len Bias spend the few months from the end of his college career in April that year until he died? He took risks…he had fun…he spent lots of money…And he made a bad choice to abuse cocaine to an extent that it killed him. 

As newly drafted players prepare for the NBA, we revisit some of the contenxt from Episode 3 in the series. 

Len Bias: A Mixed Legacy was recently selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 35 Maryland Sports...

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In remembrance of Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Lefty Driesell, the producers have aggregated clips from the series that tell the story of Lefty Driesell, his relationship with Len Bias, and his up and down history with The University of Maryland, where many argue, including Lefty himself, that he put the program on the map in the college basketball universe.

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Former NC State star and NBA center Chris Washburn talks with Executive Producer Dave Ungrady about his own struggles with drug use causing him to be in and out of basketball and the effect Len Bias's death had on his life and others. Certain claims in the interview made by Washburn are unsubstantiated and are not to be taken as statements or facts from the producers of this podcast.

 

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Dave and Don interview 4 time NBA Champion John Salley who recalls his memories of his friendship with Len Bias from high school through the NBA Draft. John also discusses the impact Len would have had on the NBA and the actual impact his death had on the players and the league.

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Dave and don interview UCF Head Coach, former NCAA Player of the Year at Duke, and former NBA point guard Johnny Dawkins. Johnny remembers his time playing against Len in the ACC, barnstorming games and pickup games. His unique perspective is shared on how Len's tragic death and legacy helped save lives.

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Maryland radio sportscaster Johnny Holliday remembers Len Bias and shares the stories of his unique relationship with Len and his family before and after his death including a personal request from Lonise Bias for Johnny to sing at Len's service. Johnny is interviewed by Dave Ungrady, Don Markus, and Rich Daniel.

Johnny appears across the podcast series and is featured across multiple episodes and highlight clips.

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Former Boston Globe sports journalist Bob Ryan is interviewed by producers Don Markus and Dave Ungrady in relation to his coverage of the team during and after the draft of Len Bias. Bob speaks to the immediate reaction of the team to Len's death, and what it would have meant to have Bias as a Celtic.

Bob Ryan has been described as "the quintessential American sportswriter" and a basketball guru, and is well known for his coverage ...

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As June 19th marks the anniversary of Len Bias's tragic death, we hear from Len's teammates and his mother Lonise Bias on their immediate reaction to hearing Len was in the hospital and that he had passed away.

More on the full story of the death of Len Bias and timeline of events surrounding the tragedy can be found in Ep 4 "His Final Hours" of this podcast series.

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The Interviews series continues with Don Markus interviewing ESPN broadcaster, former Duke Blue Devil, and attorney Jay Bilas. Jay played against Len his entire career in the ACC and offers a unique perspective on his death and the impact that it had on him and society at large. His viewpoint is shared in many episodes of the series including Ep 4 on Len's untimely death and Episode 8 where he shares his viewpoint on mandatory sent...

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The podcast series continues with new episodes by releasing the full length interviews from the series. The first interview episode is with Dorothy Gaines. Dorothy is an example of the cruel and harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws introduced following the death of Len Bias. Dorothy recounts her story with executive produce Dave Ungrady.

Dorthy featured prominently in Episode 8 where the series profiled her and others whose live...

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Chris Spetzler, Executive Director of the Decision Education Foundation along with Olympic and legendary track star Justin Gatlin, who opens up and shares the importance of good and bad decision making and how it has affected Justin's career in track and field and what those decisions have led to in Justin's life, with podcast producer Dave Ungrady.

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Chris Spetzler, Executive Director of the Decision Education Foundation along with basketball coach Glen Farello and former Maryland basketball star Travis Garrison discuss the importance of good and bad decision making and how it has affected their careers in sports, with podcast producer Dave Ungrady.

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Chris Spetzler, Executive Director of the Decision Education Foundation along with two students Zach and Ben discuss the importance of good decision making and how it has helped them choose the right path for their lives, with podcast producer Dave Ungrady.

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In life, Len Bias was a transformative basketball player. In death, he’s a cautionary tale and an iconic symbol of poor decision making. Len Bias is also a cultural catalyst. 

In this episode, Len’s story and legacy are juxtaposed with those of many important figures in American cultural history…Emmit Till’s traumatic  tale, and racial injustice. The tragic young death of rapper Biggie Smalls&hell...

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How do you define the legacy of a universally endeared and admired basketball player when he goes and throws it all away? How can you honor a young man whose youthful indiscretion placed the University of Maryland into a tailspin that lasted for almost a decade? How can a fan salute his vast achievements without acknowledging how his choice wreaked havoc on the world around him?

Those  questions are answered in this episo...

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How does one family recover from the unexpected death of a son, primed to be one of the best basketball players of all time? How does one recover from the unexpected death of another son, who was as good a player as his older brother. What challenges does a young man face never knowing a father whose legacy haunts him?

Those questions are answered in this episode. This is the fourth episode of seven in section three of th...

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Few were as profoundly affected by the death of Len Bias as members of the 1986 Maryland basketball team. For this episode, we will focus on the impact of his death on some of his teammates as well as his coach, Lefty Driesell.

This episode captures the essence of resilience as it relates to the death and legacy of Len Bias. Some managed to endure the torrential onslaught of challenges….and forge lives wiser and more sturdy than the...

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In 1986 the Boston Celtics had won their third NBA title of that decade. Days later they picked Len Bias number two in the draft. But after Bias died two days after the draft, the Celtics dominance slowly faded. They would not win another NBA title for more than two decades. Further, listen to how Len’s death prompted the NBA to change its approach in dealing with drug abuse among its players.

About the narrator: Don Markus is a ret...

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The death of Len Bias not only impacted the world of sports but impacted all of society. His high-profile death in the nation's capital added fuel to the fire of the War on Drugs in the ’80s. The creation of mandatory minimum sentencing and the disparity between sentences for powder and crack cocaine continue to affect Black and Latino communities to this day.

About the narrator: Jamal Williams is a University of Maryland, College P...

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Through the mid-1980s, those working in Maryland athletics considered themselves members of a big family. But with the death of Len Bias, that family imploded and the department struggled for years. Find out how in this episode, A Dark Cloud.

About the narrator: Don Markus is a retired, former sports reporter for the Baltimore Sun who covered Maryland athletics since 1985. He is an adjunct professor of Journalism at American Univers...

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