The Death Of A Dream - 25 Years Later

6/17/2011 8:44:37 AM (Editor's note:  I haven't posted about the big NBPA 100 camp going on this weekend because I'm not there and frankly, DBR is going to have much better information than me.  However, I expect that after the camp has ended; we will get an idea next week of exactly whom the coaching staff thinks they can land.)

June 19th, 1986 is a day that every Maryland fan over the age of 6 at the time will remember forever.  It, of course, was Len Bias' last day on Earth.  So much has happened in the intervening years to all the parties involved.  The Celtics went ring-less for more than 20 years. More importantly for the readers of this site, the Terps descended to the lowest depths in the history of the program only to be ultimately redeemed by Gary Williams and Juan Dixon.  But the implications of Bias' death have broader implications.

Today, Grantland's Michael Weinreb points out (http://is.gd/HCkvHs) that Bias' death led to the draconian Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 which has incarcerated individuals in possession of small amounts of cocaine with mandatory jail sentences. Those sentences have resulted in overcrowded prisons and ruined lives.  The tragedy of Bias' death unfortunately lives on through the consequences of this law. 

Most Terp fans don't think too much about the broader effects of the Bias Tragedy.  Instead, when our thoughts turn to Bias, we are consumed by the tragedy-to-triumph tale that unfolded from 1986-2002.  Weinreb deserves credit for calling attention to the lasting non-sports related consequences of Bias' death. 

Now, this is not the first time that the correlation of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 to Len Bias has been brought to my attention. However, for some reason, it did make me aware of the irony that exits between Bias and Dixon.  Bias died of cocaine overdose.  Dixon's parents died of AIDS brought on by drug addiction.  Dixon overcame the hardships of drug abuse while Bias tragically succumbed to them.

Dixon's achievement when viewed against the Bias backdrop is truly redemptive and emblematic of the complete transformation that Gary Williams performed on the near-death program in 1991. While the tragedy of Bias' death will never be removed; we can take solace in the fact the program has becoming a shining light of ethics in a landscape littered with rule-breakers and bad characters.



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