Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Without Bias airs tonight on ESPN. It's part of the network's 30 for 30 series of documentaries.

Of all my ridiculous sports obsessions, Maryland basketball probably runs the deepest. I can get pretty worked up watching a game, to the point where I've seen friends recoil at the illogical intensity of my passion.

So it was a pretty rough day when, at 12 years old, I learned that Len Bias had died of a cocaine overdose. I remember riding my bike furiously down Riverside Drive in Salisbury, Maryland and just bawling after hearing the news.

I didn't know nothing about cocaine then. But I'd try plenty of drugs in the ensuing years: pot, acid, ecstacy. Pretty much whatever I could get my hands on. However, I largely stayed away from coke. Even when I was in the belly of the beast in South Florida some years later, surrounded by people hoovering nose candy, I passed on the rolled up dollar bills.

I've sampled enough blow, though, to understand it's allure. You feel indestructible on that shit. But Bias was always in the back of my mind.

So it's interesting to read this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates -- a black kid growing up in West Baltimore when Bias died -- and learn that it ingrained in him (and the folks he ran with) a similar revulsion to cocaine.

It's little consolation, of course, but perhaps Bias' death saved a whole bunch of us idiots from chasing that particularly perilous high.


Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

The movie will slay you .. It rather abruptly changes course at the end to do some(very correct) preaching about mandatory minimums, but it's mostly a lot of Len and his teammates ... tough stuff, but still great

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