Len Bias’ Final Night

Excerpted from the book, Born Ready: the Mixed Legacy of Len Bias, by Dave Ungrady

According to a Washington Post story, Bias on the Monday before the draft spent the day in New York with his father, James, attending draft-related events. Bias spent at least part of the night in his hotel room, watching television.

Bias stayed in Boston the day after the NBA draft to meet with representatives of Reebok and the Boston media. The following description of how Bias’s last night evolved is based on testimony by Long at the trial of Tribble, according to reports, and from portions of the documentary Without Bias.

Bias returned to his dormitory suite at Washington Hall after 10:30 p.m. with a bag full of Reebok shoes and Boston Celtic jerseys. David Gregg, a freshman basketball player, and Maryland football players Brian (Keeta) Covington and Ben Jefferson were there eating crabs. Bias wanted them to have a party, Long testified. “We’re going to celebrate,” Bias said to Gregg, Covington and Jeffer- son. About 20 minutes later, Bias left the suite at about 11:30 p.m. with Madelyne Woods, a friend of Bias’s who stopped by to visit. Bias said he had to “go drain his lizard.” “We knew what he meant,” Long said. “He said he hadn’t been with a girl in three days.”

Long and Gregg walked to a nearby convenience store to buy soft drinks and went to sleep when they returned. At around 2:30 a.m., Bias, who was with Tribble, knocked on Long’s bedroom door and said “Wake the [expletive] up. We’re gonna celebrate.”

Bias then woke up Gregg and told Gregg and Long to get some beer from a nearby refrigerator. Long and Gregg saw a mound of cocaine on a mirror on the desk when they returned to Long’s room. After Gregg asked Bias and Tribble where the cocaine came from, Long said, “Tribble said something about getting it from the bottom of a stash and they planned to get a kilo the next day.” Long, Gregg, Bias and Tribble started snorting the cocaine through cut straws until about 3 a.m. when Jeff Baxter knocked on Long’s door. Long told Tribble to put the cocaine away when Baxter knocked because the players knew Baxter did not use drugs. Baxter stayed for about 15 minutes.

The others then resumed snorting cocaine. Tribble went to the bathroom, stumbled back to Long’s room and said, “We’re all [expletive] up.” Long added that they all felt much the same way. They snorted cocaine until sometime after 6 a.m. Bias then rested on Long’s bed for about five minutes before struggling to go to the bathroom because he was wobbly. Bias then suffered a seizure. Long placed a pair of scissors in Bias’s mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue while Gregg held Bias’s feet. Tribble called his mother who told him to call the county emergency number for an am- bulance. Tribble made the emergency call at 6:32 a.m.

911: P.G. County Emergency

Tribble: Yes, I’d like to have an ambulance come; (to someone else) what, what room? What room?

(Answer from the background: Washington Hall)

Tribble: What? Eleven-oh-three Washington Hall. It’s an emergency. It’s Len Bias and he just went to Boston and he needs some assistance.

911: What are you talking about?
Tribble: Huh?
911: What are you talking about?
Tribble: I’m talking about, uh, someone needs, Len Bias needs help. 911: Well, it doesn’t matter what his name is, what’s the problem? Tribble: He’s not breathing right.

911: What’s the address?
Tribble: Eleven-oh-three Washington Hall on Maryland University’s campus.
911: Washington Hall?
Tribble: Yes, sir.
911: What’s your name?
Tribble: My name is Brian.
911: Brian what?
Tribble: Tribble.
911: Tribble?
Tribble: Yes, sir.
911: What’s your phone number, Brian?
Tribble: I’m, I’m in Len Bias’s room. I don’t know the phone number there.
911: What’s the room number?
Tribble: Eleven-oh-three.
911: Eleven-oh-three?
Tribble: Yes, sir.
911: OK. What’s, it’s just Washington Hall, what’s the address of Washington Hall?
Tribble: It’s, uh, I don’t know, it’s no address. It’s just Washington Hall. Come up by Hungry Herman’s and go straight up there and it’s on the right-hand side, so please come as soon as you can. It’s no joke.

911: OK, Washington Hall apartment number eleven-oh-three?

Tribble: Yes, they’re giving him mouth-to-mouth. You can hear it now. Hear ’em? This is Len Bias. You have to get him back to life. There’s no way he can die. Seriously, sir, please come quick.

911: OK, Washington Hall and apartment, uh room number, eleven-oh-three. Tribble: Uh-huh.

911: That’s one thousand, one hundred and three?
Tribble: Uh-huh. Eleven-oh-three. One thousand, one hundred and three. 911: All right. We’ll have an ambulance out, all right?
Tribble: Excuse me?
911: We’ll have an ambulance out.
Tribble: OK.
911: Thank you.
Tribble: Yeah.

After the ambulance took Bias to the hospital, Long cleaned the empty beer bottles and cut straws from his room and emptied them into a dumpster behind the dormitory. Bias was pronounced dead at the hospital at 8:55 a.m. Cocaine intoxication was later determined to be the cause.

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