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June 20, 1986 - Image 15

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1986-06-20

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Page 15
'It's horrible'
Celtics' top draftee Len
Bias dies of heart attack
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Len stood a friend tried to revive Bias with
Bias, who said he was living a "dream cardio-pulmonary respiration, and
within a dream" after being drafted the procedure was continued on the
by the NBA champion Boston Celtics, 1%-mile ambulance trip to the
died of an apparent heart attack hospital.
yesterday just as his lifelong ambition CBS News and Washington, D.C.,
was about to be realized. television station quoted unidentified
The tragic end of what appeared to police and hospital sources as saying
be a career of unlimited promise that traces of cocaine had been found
came just days after Bias passed a in the star's urine, but it was un-
physical given by the Celtics before determined if that was a factor in his
they picked him as the No. 2 player in death.
Tuesday's NBA draft.
BOSTON superstar Larry Bird, who
urged the team to select Bias and was
to work with Bias at rookie camp,
"It's horrible. It's the cruelest thing
I ever heard."
The 22-year-old Bias was stricken
about 6:30 a.m.. in his dormitory room
at the University of Maryland, where
he was attending summer school after
playing his final collegiate season.
FRANK BERRY, a spokesman for
Leland Memorial Hospital, not far
from the campus, said Bias was
brought in about 6:30 a.m., and he
died at 8:50 following unsuccessful at-
tempts to save the athlete.
Dr. Edward Wilson said he under- Bias

Friday, June 20, 1986

The Michigan Daily

1Miartin (1.titriree 4. Bias tragedy.
By Adam Martin .. . . makes no sense

R ARELY DO the inhabitants of the basketball
world praise a player so soon. But today, fans,
players and all roundball enthusiasts honor Len Bias
perhaps a decade before his name became synonomous
with the Boston Celtics.
Bias was pronounced dead, the victim of a heart at-
tack, two days after the Celtics selected him in the
NBA draft's first round. Amazingly, experts hailed
Bias as the best athlete in the draft, and Red Auerbach,
the Celtics' wizard, was said to have drafted Bias not
only for his talents, but for his character and health
Irony rings Bias' death. How unlikely that perhaps
the best college player in the nation would lose his life
less than 48 hours after becoming a member of the
NBA's celebrated champions? How can a young man,
a superhealthy physical specimen by most people's
standards, die before his professional prime?
It makes no sense.
Larry Bird, the Celtic who writes current basketball
history, said Bias was by far the best player in the
draft. Bird's words are disputable, but one needs gall
to contradict Larry Bird.
So on the occasion of such an unbelievable and tragic
death, the search for an explanation continues. Accor-
ding to Associated Press, the results of Bias' autopsy
will not be revealed for a few days. In the interim,
questions about the cause of Bias' heart failure com-
pound the tragedy..
If overindulgency, whatever the source, caused Bias'
death, his passing will become uglier. Drug use by
college athletes is already a problem, to say nothing of

professional sports' battle with substance abuse. If
Bias' death writes another chapter on drug use, the
problem, and all the pain it causes, willgrow.
Bias' death, then, might becomean unbearable Cat-
ch-22. No matter where one turns, there's tragedy.
Bias' passing hurts so many people, and a revealing
report from the Maryland state medical examiner's of-
fice could hurt more.
Speculation on the cause of his death at this point,
however, is pure conjecture. Guesses about the cause
abound, but in this case one hopes for one answer over
Maybe it was a "freak thing." One of those natural
defects that struck when it felt like it. Bias died simply
because his ticker refused to service his talent,
The other "Maybe" is harder to digest. If drugs had
anything to do with it, the praise will lose its eulogistic
tone, and Bias will turn victim.
Before the draft many felt the privilege of selecting a
player like Bias belonged not to the Celtics, but to the
less fortunate. Today and forever, the same people
remember Bias as a Celtic and a former college star.
Many will want to forget his death and instead rem-
ember his prowess, selflessness, and support for his
team. But in a few days, when the results of his autopsy
are released, remembering his death may be painfully
Tragedies give little reason for hope. Here's hoping
the Len Bias tragedy, however cruel, was natural and
unavoidable. Tragedies hurt more when they could
have been prevented.

Tarpley is a winner in the NBA draft
,By DARREN JASEY Tarpley's wise words rang true very rapidiy," said Pistoos' general "Ihave to build up moreupper-body hisknocks," hesaid.
Phew! when Indiana chose Auburn's Chuck manager Jack McCloskey. "We strength and everything will fall into
Roy Tarpley and Detroit Pistons' Person on the draft's fourth overall breathed a sign of relief when San An- place," said Tarpley. "I've developed In Tarpley's case there looms the
fans can all rest easier after pick. Just about everyone expected tonio took Johnny Dawkins." my jumpers and hooks, and with more possibility of a trade, but he's not too
Tuesday's surprising NBA draft. Memphis State center William Bed- For both Tarpley and Salley, being strength and hard work it should pay concerned. He says he'll play for
For Pistons' fans, many of whom ford to go in that slot. drafted in the first round was a off." whoever wants him. Tarpley is expec-
gathered at the Pistons' draft lun- moment of elation - one they cer- ted tomeet withhis new club today.
cheon in the ballroom of the Southfield THE 7-0 Bedford was drafted num- tainly chatted about on the plane trip IT IS VERY possible for John Salley
Hilton, the selection of seven-footer ber-six by Phoenix, and shortly home from New York to Detroit that to be pushed into a pressure-packed Other Michigan draftees were
John Salley was cause for celebration. thereafter Sellers went to Chicago as they shared last night. starting role with the Pistons, but he Richard Rellford, by Indiana in the
the ninth selection. This created a stir feels he can handle it. fifth round; Butch Wade, by New
FOR TARPLEY, being chosen among the Pistons' brass at the York in the sixth round; and Robert
seventh by the Dallas Mavericks was Hilton, but San Antonio went with "IT FEELS great," said Tarpley. "I'm a rookie coming into the Henderson, by Chicago in the seventh
vindication after earlier rumors had Duke guard Johnny Dawkins,allowing "It's the main goal that all athletes league and every rookie has to take round.
him projected as a later pick. Being the Pistons to get their big man. shoot for."
selected ahead of the seven-footers, "There were quite a few guys a lit- Salley and Tarpley will both
Brad Sellers and John Salley, was tle worried when Chicago drafted dedicate. this summer to bulking up
quite an accomplishment for the 6-11 Sellers, because we were running out tleir similar frames. Salley is 7-0, 231
center from Michigan. of those six-ten, -eleven, seven-footers pounds, and Tarpley is 6-11, 230. 602=6969 q. ; . ..2M

"I felt I was a better ballplayer than
them (Sellers and Salley)," said Tar-
pley. "You know, we beat them (Ohio
State) pretty bad last year and I felt I
outplayed him (Sellers)."
Tarpley also responded to the
critics, who felt that he had an off
year last season when his scoring
average dropped from 19.0 to 15.9.
"WE HAD A great team and
everyone wanted to score," he said.
"And when you're triple-teamed you
just don't score as much."
Tarpley confided that he was fairly
confident, going into the draft, that
Dallas would take him. However, he
thp. adde ,,"You. never .know. until
you get drafe . I

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