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Len Bias, The No. 1 Athlete That Makes You Wonder 'What If?'

Over at RealClearSports, they recently released a look at the Top 10 Athletes That Makes You Wonder "What If?" Spurred on by the recent headlines of Ken Griffey, Jr., the guys at RCS wonder aloud just what could have been if the injury bug hadn't viciously attacked Griffey like a swarm of locusts. The list features your usual suspects -- Bo Jackson, Grant Hill and Dwight Gooden -- as well as a few lesser remembered unfortunate pros, like Ernie Davis. And then, at the top of the list, the No. 1 Athlete That Makes You Wonder "What If?" -- Len Bias.

Len Bias had all the skills to become one of the best ever. He had a silky smooth jump shot, could jump out of the building, and had the killer instinct that fuels the greatest of players. He was drafted 2nd overall by the Celtics and was supposed to invigorate that franchise with his youth. The Celtics were just coming off an NBA Championship but their star players – McHale, Parrish, and Bird – were getting past their prime. Bias was to be the spark plug to keep the Celtics dynasty rolling. [...]

His coach [at Maryland] Lefty Driesell called Bias, “the greatest basketball player that ever played in the Atlantic Coast Conference." Driesell would routinely have to take Bias out of practices because he was just too dominant.

But just two days after being drafted by the Celtics, Bias died of a cocaine overdose. This began a 21-year stretch in which the Celtics didn’t win a title – a streak just snapped in 2008. The Celtics have now won 17 Championships but who knows how many they could’ve won with Bias.