City Desk

Len Bias, Once More With Feeling…

Middle-aged guys from around here have a ritual: Every year around this time, we remember where we were when we found out Len Bias died.

Me? I was at the City Paper offices on the morning of June 19, 1986. At the time, I was an intern doing arts listings in the paper's headquarters, a small rowhouse on 6th Street NW which for reasons that mystify me still stands.

It was hot and I was sweaty, as per usual. I went out to get something soft to drink at a liquor store down the block, and the guy behind the counter asked me if I liked basketball.

I said yes, with goofy enthusiasm.

"You like Len Bias?" he said.

"I love Len Bias!" I told him, even goofier and with absolute earnestness.

"He's dead," the clerk said.

So 25 years ago Sunday, if you saw a soggy white guy crying into a bottle of seltzer water in Chinatown, maybe that was me.


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  • Danindc

    Me too Dave, me too. Broke my arm the night before and woke up to the news- still remember sobbing on stairs....

  • Kev29

    I was 11 and at Takoma Academy for (Morgan Wootten/Joe Gallagher) Metropolitan Area Basketball Camp that morning. Which is just up the street from where Len Bias died at Adventist Hospital. Coach Wootten gathered everyone in the main gym to tell us that Bias passed away. I was devastated - and can still hear Coach Wootten's words in my head to this day.