I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that Len Bias had died. All I can remember being told was that Bias had died after using cocaine. And that it had been his first time. It was a scary story. And it worked as a scary story. I never tried cocaine; I always cited Bias as the reason. But, of course, there’s a lot more to Bias’ life and death.
Thankfully, Without Bias, the moving documentary on his life, has finally been released. Unlike the recent Marion Barry doc, this one is loaded with moving interviews with all the major players from his family to the friends who were with him in that dorm room that night. No portrait of Bias comes closer to getting at the truth about Bias’ cocaine use and the political impact of his death. [the tragedy played a role in the creation of mandatory minimum sentencing laws].
The documentary had apparently sat on shelves for years. The movie’s trailer has been up on youtube since February 2008. Only late last month did the movie have its premiere on University of Maryland’s campus. It’s now airing on ESPN. It’s a must see.