The gravestone is faded, but the memories of Len Bias are not. Photo by Mike Frandsen

He was the greatest player in the history of the ACC. He could do it all. There was nobody like him.  Will there ever be anyone like him again?

Leonard Kevin Bias died of cocaine intoxication June 19, 1986.

The scene that morning, as documented in news reports, was shocking, surreal and tragic as family members and teammates learned the news after gathering at Leland Memorial Hospital in Riverdale, Maryland.

When it happened, I literally couldn’t believe it.  “Len Bias’ father died?” I thought to myself. “But why is it on the front page of the Washington Post?”  I could not, would not, believe that Len Bias the basketball player was dead.

If you’re over 35 and from the Washington, D.C. area, and you’re a sports fan, you’ll never forget where you were when you heard the news.  It was the biggest sports story of our lifetimes.

It was like a nightmare that seems so real and then you wake up.  Only this was real.  It haunts Maryland fans to this day.

Bias was not only the best player ever at Maryland, he was the greatest player in the history of the ACC. He was better than Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, David Thompson, and Ralph Sampson. Bias was a power forward with the strength of a center, the quickness of a small forward and the touch of a shooting guard. But that doesn’t come close to telling the story.

Kirk Fraser recounted the story of Bias’ death in an ESPN documentary, 30 for 30: Without Bias.

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