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1980s / Death of Len Bias
Len Bias should have been one of basketball's greatest players. Instead, he became a poster boy for everything that was wrong with big-time sports. The athletic Bias was a star player at the University of Maryland. On June 17, 1986, the 22-year-old Bias was drafted second overall by the NBA champion Boston Celtics. Forty hours later he was dead from a cocaine overdose. Bias' death had a ripple effect. The Celtics were planning to rebuild their aging team around Bias, but instead Boston did not win another NBA championship until 2008. The basketball program at University of Maryland was thrown into turmoil after it was discovered that Bias' drug use was well known and he was 21 credits short of graduating despite using up all his academic eligibilty. Maryland's coach and athletic director were terminated that October for engaging in coverups that allowed Bias' habitual drug use and weak academic performance to go unchecked.