Ever since, we've been forced to wonder: Would the Celtics have remained a force with Bias in uniform? Wouldn't he have added years to the basketball lives of Bird and Kevin McHale and ultimately succeeded them as the next franchise player and face of the Boston Celtics? How many of the four titles won by the Pistons and Lakers in the late 1980s would they have won had Bias lived? How many of the Bulls' six titles would they have won if Bias had lived? Would Jordan have had the rival and true equal many of us suspect Bias would have been? Can you miss if Bird and Magic swear to your potential greatness at 22? How many people did his cocaine overdose discourage and how long did his death impact would-be users? Would Jay Bias, Len's younger brother who wandered into the wrong crowd and was shot to death, still be alive had his brother lived?
It happened slowly. The champions limped through the regular season in '87, with Bird and McHale logging big minutes from October to June and carrying them to another appearance in the Finals (a painful loss to the Lakers in six, and yes, the Celts were a player short). McHale injured his foot during the last month of the season, returned for the playoffs, fractured that same foot and, incredibly, kept playing on it. He was never the same player again. And Bird's body was never the same after that season; over the next few years, he started to break down like the Bluesmobile. How many titles would Bias have been worth? How many years would he have added to the careers of Bird and McHale? Is it safe to argue that the addition of Len Bias to the '86 Celtics would have locked up at least two or three more titles in the '80s? We'll never know.We'll never know.