5 Black Athletes Who Would Have Had Prolific Careers But Died Prematurely

Len BiasLen Bias

The night after being selected by the Boston Celtics with the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, Maryland’s Len Bias collapsed in a dormitory room on the College Park campus and was pronounced dead some time later at a local hospital. Just as shocking to many was the cause of death: his heart essentially burst because of a cocaine overdose. Bias, a 6-foot-8 All-American forward with a brilliant, explosive skill set and unconquerable desire, was destined to be among the league’s premier players and history makers. The story goes that Hall of Fame Celtic Larry Bird had said he would attend the Celtics’ summer league that year just to see Bias, 22, play in person.

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