Would Michael Jordan, Bulls have won fewer NBA titles with Len Bias on Celtics?
It remains one of the biggest "What Ifs" in the history of the Celtics franchise.
What if Len Bias had not died of a drug overdose two days after his selection with the second overall selection in the 1986 NBA draft?
What if, just 10 days after winning the 16th championship in the team's history, the Celtics could list a college superstar like Bias in which Larry Bird (from his third consecutive MVP season), Kevin McHale, Robert, was represented community, Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson?
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The questions can never be answered, but former NBA player Tony Massenburg thought Bias and the Celtics were a heavenly game and would have continued the Celtics tradition.
"I have no question that he was one of the greats," said Massenburg recently on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Talk podcast. "Every year it would have been the Celtics and the Chicago Bulls. The debate would have been who's the greatest, who will inherit this coat: Michael Jordan or Len Bias? ... I have no doubt that the Boston Celtics would have championships won. There is no doubt that the Chicago Bulls would not have won six. "
Massenburg described Bias as Dominique Wilkins with a better outside shot, a player who could have exploited his great potential while studying at Bird and McHale.
Former Celtics GM Jan Volk had a different competition for bias when he spoke to NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes about the former Maryland Terrapin: "We had a comparison with Michael Jordan. Three inches taller with a better outside shot. That's how he became characterized. "
Volk agrees with Massenburg that the Celtics increase their championship numbers if bias is not overdosed.
"The team from 1986 to 1987 that reached the final was one player too short," said Volk. "I think if [Bias] had been on our squad at the time and had had some time during the season that I hoped he would have contributed, and maybe we would have won another championship ... Larry Bird was very excited about his game and about merging his game with the players we had. He really thought it was an opportunity for him personally, Larry, and the team to extend their run, our run. "
Bias 'death remains a heartbreaking tragedy 34 years later, and Volk recalled a story from Bias' pre-design visit to Boston that showed he was just as excited about playing in Boston as the Celtics were supposed to draw.
"I remember a conversation we had when he went to the airport to go home. He just looked at me and said, 'Please draw me, I really want to play here.' ""
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Would Michael Jordan, Bulls with Len Bias on Celtics have won fewer NBA titles? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
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