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Crime History: U.Md. star dies of cocaine use

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Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day June 19, in 1986, University of Maryland All-American basketball forward Len Bias died from a cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after being drafted by the Boston Celtics.

The day before his death, undercover police in D.C. witnessed the 22-year-old cruising in his new sports car in a Northeast Washington neighborhood where drugs were often sold.

He attended a small party that night, then returned to his dorm in College Park. About 3 a.m., he snorted a line of cocaine that induced a heart attack.

Some say Bias was one of the greatest basketball talents to not play at the professional level.

The media coverage surrounding his death put the issue of cocaine use at the front of the nation's conscience.

Congress soon passed the Len Bias Law, which stiffened drug laws.

-Scott McCabe

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