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View Full Version : Was Len Bias A Bust?



DG-33
01-23-2006, 02:40 PM
Leonard K. Bias (November 18, 1963 June 19, 1986) was a spectacular college basketball player who died of a cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after being selected by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA Draft.

From Landover, Maryland, Bias attended the University of Maryland where he became a star player and an All-American. Wearing number 34, he impressed basketball fans with his amazing leaping ability and his ability to create plays.

Bias died on June 19, 1986 of a cocaine overdose in a dorm on the UM College Park campus. He was 22 years old. His death was featured as part of an anti-drug campaign. Years later, on December 11, 1990, Bias' younger brother Jay, a promising high school basketball player, was shot to death in a dispute in the parking lot of Prince George's Plaza, a Maryland shopping mall.

Do you believe Len Bias qualifies as a bust or not?

Kstat
01-23-2006, 02:43 PM
Silly and disrespectful discussion.

He made a mistake and paid for it with his life. Dying does not qualify you as a bust.

Will Galen
01-23-2006, 02:44 PM
I agree with K-Stat!

There's been a lot of silly questions on here lately.

How could he be a bust when he didn't play? That was just an unfortunate pick for Boston?

Slick Pinkham
01-23-2006, 02:45 PM
Picking him in the draft was a bust for a draft pick. The net result was to throw the pick away.

As a college player he wasn't a bust, and he never played in the NBA, so you can't really say he was a bust.

why does it matter?

:confused:

DG-33
01-23-2006, 02:45 PM
Silly and disrespectful discussion.

He made a mistake and paid for it with his life. Dying does not qualify you as a bust.
But bad choices which cost you your career do.

sweabs
01-23-2006, 02:46 PM
This poll doesn't even make sense to me, and as Kstat mentioned, seems a little disrespectful.

DG-33
01-23-2006, 02:48 PM
I'm sure Len Bias' family, who come here often, will be quite offended.

Kstat
01-23-2006, 02:49 PM
But bad choices which cost you your career do.

Everyone makes bad choices. College kids tend to make the dumbest.

If Bias carried a drug problem into the NBA and never learned, then that would affect his play.

However, Len never got the chance to mature past the age of 22. He was a victim of his era, when people weren't as educated about the effects of illigal drug use.

Kstat
01-23-2006, 02:51 PM
I'm sure Len Bias' family, who come here often, will be quite offended.

I'm offended, and I was 4 years old when he died.

From all accounts Lenn Bias was a great kid that made a stupid mistake. I don't see the point in determining wether or not he qualifies as a bust.

DG-33
01-23-2006, 02:56 PM
Everyone makes bad choices. College kids tend to make the dumbest.

If Bias carried a drug problem into the NBA and never learned, then that would affect his play.

However, Len never got the chance to mature past the age of 22. He was a victim of his era, when people weren't as educated about the effects of illigal drug use.
He did the drugs. You can't honestly believe Len didn't know the consequences?

He did the drugs. He cost himself his own career, his own life. The Boston Celtics got nothing in return for the #2 pick in the draft. How could that not qualify him as a bust?

If Len Bias is let off the hook, why shouldn't everyone else who's been labeled a bust due to injury and/or stupid decision be let off the hook? Because Len unfortunately died we're forced to be overly PC about it?

Kstat
01-23-2006, 02:58 PM
Um, because a dead player cannot learn from his mistakes?

Bias never got the chance that most kids do, which is to grow up and mature.

People take their lives into their own hands when they speed in their cars. Most of us do it anyway.

It's not about being overly PC, it's about not discussing it 20 years after the kid's death.

What if Bias got shot at gunpoint and died in a mugging? Does that make him a bust too?

Was Drazen Petrovic a Bust because he only played 5 years in the NBA?

Discussing athletes that died before their careers took off in this fashon is a silly and pointless topic.

Hicks
01-23-2006, 02:59 PM
This happened, when, the late 80's? And someone's trying to say they didn't know then that drugs could **** you over? Umm, no, not quite.

DG-33
01-23-2006, 03:05 PM
I'm offended, and I was 4 years old when he died.

From all accounts Lenn Bias was a great kid that made a stupid mistake. I don't see the point in determining wether or not he qualifies as a bust.
There's no reason for you to be offended unless your just saying that to try and cast me in a bad light. Which I believe is the case, but I digress.

Noone's saying Len wasn't a good guy, by all accounts I've heard, I'm sure he was. But why is he let off the hook? Obviously basketball has very little meaning in the grand scheme of life, but do you not think the Celtics were a little upset over basically throwing the #2 pick in the draft away?

Jonathan Bender's career was destroyed by knee injuries. He's hated on and labeled a bust by every single Pacer fan here. Why is that ok, yet the mere notion of Len Bias being a bust has everyone "upset"? Hypocrisy? Is everyone (except for me) overly politically correct?

Is there some notion that Jon Bender could somehow prevent his knee injuries, yet Len Bias had no choice but to sniff cocaine, therefor it wasn't his fault?

If one player is considered a bust due to not being able to physically play basketball, then shouldn't all be considered busts?

Kstat
01-23-2006, 03:08 PM
....and now we reveal your motive, which is to point out that Len Bias isnt any different from Jonathan Bender?

I'll say it again: say Bias goes to the wrong party, knowing trouble could break out, and is shot to death the night of the draft. Is he a bust?

I'm sure the Celtics were disappointed that they got nothing from the #2 pick. But I'm not going to blame Bias for that. It was tragedy, plain and simple. The worst bust shouldn't be mentioned here.

Slick Pinkham
01-23-2006, 03:15 PM
Bender was able to play.

Nobody made any mention of his knees in '01-02 when he played in 78 games and averaged over 21 minutes a game, scoring 7.4 ppg on 43% shooting.

The revisionists say he was hobbling the whole time. I say he just wasn't very good when he was playing.

Would the Pacers have been better off taking Shawn Marion or a half dozen other players instead of JB? Absolutely.

Would the Celtics have been better off picking someone other than Len Bias? Sure. The pick was a bust. Can't really call his NBA career a bust since he never had one.

Silly argument.

Los Angeles
01-23-2006, 03:17 PM
FWIW - the common knowledge when it comes to drug use is that only 1st timers or former users who return to use die from overdose. If you are an experienced or habitual user, you know your limits. The fact that Len Bias OD'd means he didn't understand how much his system could or could not take. i.e. he didn't understand the true consequences of his single action.

The absolute "Just say no - drugs are bad, so he should have known better" goes right up there with "the terrorists hate freedom" when it comes to oversimplified, idiotic phrases. This stuff should only work on children. Are we really a nation of 6 year olds?

He made a simple and "drug rookie" mistake at a time when a vast number of professional athletes were using cocaine. It's clear that he wasn't a habitual drug user. If he was, he would have taken less, or had a tolerance to the dose he did take.

He died because he didn't know what he was doing, i.e. he didn't understand the consequences.

Kstat
01-23-2006, 03:19 PM
The absolute "Just say no - drugs are bad, so he should have known better" goes right up there with "the terrorists hate freedom" when it comes to oversimplified, idiotic phrases. This stuff should only work on children. Are we really a nation of 6 year olds?

He died because he didn't know what he was doing, i.e. he didn't understand the consequences.

thank you.

I'm sure if Len Bias thought there was a REMOTE chance that he'd die, I'm sure he wouldn't have done the cocaine.

It's not that different from someone dying in a car accident asa result of speeding, or not wearing a seat belt, or going to the wrong party and getting shot, or from drinking too much alcohol on their 21st birthday.

Most of us have done things similiar to this, and most of us manage to live through it. Bias was just really unfortunate.

Nobody is going to look down on someone as a "bust" for any of the above actions. What Bias did really isn't that different.

Peck
01-23-2006, 03:19 PM
I knew before I even opened this thread where this was going to be going.

Jon Bender was the ultimate point of this question.

Let me say this to you.

Jon Bender was a bust because he was not ready to play basketball. His knees had nothing to do with the fact that for 3 years the guy did not have the slightest idea of how to set a pick, roll over screen, block out on a rebound, make a cross cut, etc., etc. etc.

You guys that rely on his knee's being the problem don't take into account the fact that for 3 years he had no knee problems & still didn't play because he had no idea how to.

If Jon had played normal rookie & 1st & 2nd year min. after that then if his knee's went out then no one could call him a bust.

Clark Kellogg played about the same time frame as Jon & nobody considers him a bust.

But the fact that he litterally had the deer in the headlights look during the last playoff game he played in spoke volumes.

Roy Munson
01-23-2006, 03:29 PM
The Draft Pick was bust.

The Person and the Player was premature death due to a real bad decision.

Kstat
01-23-2006, 03:36 PM
The only thing worse than this would be calling Maurice Stokes a bust.

Bball
01-23-2006, 03:38 PM
This is about Bender? :eek:

-Bball

NaptownBound
01-23-2006, 04:05 PM
Respect the dead man. You're just being mean.

Hoop
01-23-2006, 04:08 PM
FWIW - the common knowledge when it comes to drug use is that only 1st timers or former users who return to use die from overdose. If you are an experienced or habitual user, you know your limits. The fact that Len Bias OD'd means he didn't understand how much his system could or could not take. i.e. he didn't understand the true consequences of his single action.

The absolute "Just say no - drugs are bad, so he should have known better" goes right up there with "the terrorists hate freedom" when it comes to oversimplified, idiotic phrases. This stuff should only work on children. Are we really a nation of 6 year olds?

He made a simple and "drug rookie" mistake at a time when a vast number of professional athletes were using cocaine. It's clear that he wasn't a habitual drug user. If he was, he would have taken less, or had a tolerance to the dose he did take.

He died because he didn't know what he was doing, i.e. he didn't understand the consequences.
Good post. The kid made a tragic mistake and he died, he was not a bust. I'm old enough to remember Len Bias the player and he was one hell of a College player. If there ever was a can't miss NBA player, he seemed to be one. Nobody can say for sure, he should have been a star for many years, but we'll never know.

Pacers#1Fan
01-23-2006, 04:14 PM
He wasn't around long enough to call him a bust.

DG-33
01-23-2006, 04:28 PM
Um, because a dead player cannot learn from his mistakes?
Even if you chalk Bias taking cocaine up to a single isolated incident, it still doesn't discount the fact that he gave nothing productive to the Celtics. Accident or not, the Celtics got nothing out of the 2nd pick in the draft. I'm sure Red Auerbach was thrilled with that.


Bias never got the chance that most kids do, which is to grow up and mature.
His own fault. I've never taken drugs, I don't even drink or smoke. It's unfortunate, but hey, he was 22. Not a fully matured adult by no means, but he was old enough to know that taking drugs is a huge risk. He took that risk, and paid for it. I hate to come across as callous, but I have to call it like I see it. Take responsibility for your own actions.


People take their lives into their own hands when they speed in their cars. Most of us do it anyway.
And if someone has an accident while speeding, the blame is put on them. If there's a serious injury, or God forbid even death, prison time is given. So what's your point exactly?


It's not about being overly PC, it's about not discussing it 20 years after the kid's death.
Don't discuss it then. You didn't have to read it or post in it, just like Len Bias didn't have to sniff cocaine.

Oh wait, this is your first time posting in this thread, so you didn't know what you were getting into, despite being on this board long enough to amass 10,000+ posts. You should be let off the hook. ;)

I'm sure being a young black man growing up just outside of Washington D.C., Len Bias was completely ignorant to drugs and the consequences of using them. http://www.pacersdigest.com/forums/images/smilies/rolleyes_pd.gif


What if Bias got shot at gunpoint and died in a mugging? Does that make him a bust too?
What would he have contributed to the Celtics? Nothing? Then yes, he was a bust. Not a bust due to lack of talent, but a bust due to unfortunate events.

What if Ed O'Bannon was a college superstar, but suffered a horrible knee injury his senior season. He then comes into the league and cant play more than 20 minutes a game of 4 games a season due to his injury. He's out of the league in two years. Would you consider that a bust?

What if a player was picked #1 overall, has two seasons where he puts up limited production due to limited minutes, followed by near 2 All-Star worthy seasons (including a 20/11/3/3 block season) followed by his career being destroyed by injuries? Would you consider that player a bust?
Most do. His name is Pervis Ellison.

So in your opinion, if your career is destroyed by a basketball injury, you're a bust? (Pervis Ellison, Ed O'Bannon, possibly even Jon Bender)

If your career is destroyed by plain sucking, you're a bust? (Darko Milicic, Michael Olowokandi, Kwame Brown)

If your career is destroyed by drugs, you're a bust? (Chris Washburn)

If your career is destroyed by drugs, and you happen to die in the process, you're not a bust? (Len Bias)

That's some nice logic you got there.


Was Drazen Petrovic a Bust because he only played 5 years in the NBA?
Drazen Petrovic was a 3rd round pick that had seasons playing at a solid role-player level, and 2 seasons playing at a star level.
That's hardly comparable to the #2 pick in a draft dying 46 hours after the draft, and you know that.


Discussing athletes that died before their careers took off in this fashon is a silly and pointless topic.
So why are you here then?
I don't find it to be a silly and pointless discussion. Hence why I started it.
You, on the other hand, do. Yet you still waste your time posting lengthy replies in it? So you're either being ignorant in wasting your time on a "silly and pointless topic", or you're once again being a hypocrite. Which is it my friend?


Bender was able to play.

Nobody made any mention of his knees in '01-02 when he played in 78 games and averaged over 21 minutes a game, scoring 7.4 ppg on 43% shooting.

The revisionists say he was hobbling the whole time. I say he just wasn't very good when he was playing.

Would the Pacers have been better off taking Shawn Marion or a half dozen other players instead of JB? Absolutely.

Would the Celtics have been better off picking someone other than Len Bias? Sure. The pick was a bust. Can't really call his NBA career a bust since he never had one.

Silly argument.
Sure, he wasn't a particularly good player while he was healthy, but Bender was drafted out of high school and was a project. Who's to say how good a healthy 24 year old Bender could've been? It's pure speculation, same as people speculating how good Len Bias would've/could've been. If Bender's a bust, so is Bias. Atleast Bender didn actually give the Pacers a little production for a year or two.
"Can't really call his NBA career a bust since he never had one."
So a guy who was drafted #2 overall in the NBA Draft yet never plays a single second in an NBA game isn't an [u]NBA bust[/u???

Kstat
01-23-2006, 04:33 PM
It's called separating the pick from the player. The pick was ultimately a bad one, but the player can't be considered a bust since he never had a chance for a career.

Not that I expect you to get this, since you fail to comprehend anything anybody has said to you, in any thread whatsoever.

It's also very inflammatory to pick a tragedy like the Len Bias story and decide to pile on 20 years after his death. Using him to defend Jonathan Bender is borderline-reprehensible.

As for the thread, you're right. I chose to enter it, and now I'm choosing to leave it. Congratulations on another inflated unproductive topic.

Slick Pinkham
01-23-2006, 04:35 PM
I don't consider my own NBA career a bust. But I never had one. Neither did Len Bias. Neither did you.

Is this complicated?

DG-33
01-23-2006, 04:45 PM
I don't consider my own NBA career a bust. But I never had one. Neither did Len Bias. Neither did you.

Is this complicated?
I wasn't drafted in the NBA draft by an NBA team. Were you?

Slick Pinkham
01-23-2006, 04:59 PM
Your amplifier must go up to 11.

You just can't comprehend, huh?

:cows batting their eyes at a passing train:

You didn't ask if the draft pick was a bust, you asked if Len Bias was a bust. I don't know what to do to carry on a conversation here.

I need to stop wasting my time, paying attention to perhaps the most useless thread in message board history.