I’ve heard countless stories over the past year from University of Maryland alumni and players about the greatness that was Len Bias. They all talked about a flawless jump shot that was the stuff of dreams. Everyone had a favorite Bias story. And they could each recount the exact moment they found out that the Terp had died from a cocaine overdose.
But one voice was missing — former Maryland head coach Lefty Driesell, who was fired in the aftermath of the tragic death. So I was ecstatic to hear from him Tuesday night on a SportsCenter special honoring Bias.
“I was surprised when I heard he was going to be on. He normally will not talk about this at all,” said Derrick Lewis, who played with Bias under Driesell from 1984-86. “I would imagine it still hurts a lot for him.”
Driesell opened by remarking that he’s certain Bias is in heaven. He shared inside stories like how he’d often take the eventual No. 2 NBA Draft pick out of practice because he was just too good. And he defended a legacy often shadowed by its end, saying that his son, Chuck, who was roommates with Bias, swore he wasn’t a drug addict, but rather someone who rarely had a beer on nights out.
“His words mean a whole hell of a lot,” said Walt Williams, who played at Maryland from 1988-82 before an 11-year NBA career. “When he talks about Len you can feel the love in his spirit.”
As Driesell spoke, the pain of losing Bias was also evident. But his voice, complete with that raspy southern accent that I’d only been told about prior, was needed. It made the special great.