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Without Bias - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Without Bias
It's not a day I enjoy commemorating -- I explained my own memories here, in my second LJ entry ever -- but I'm glad that Scoop Jackson took the time to do so. Although I enjoy his way of piling it on most of the time, it feels especially right today:
Bias had already torched the entire Tar Heel squad for about 30, but he still needed to make a statement.

The game was close. UNC still had a chance.

After making the net swallow another one of his jump shots, instead of running downcourt to play D, LB U-turned and stole the inbound pass. You could hear Dean Smith's heart break.

Len went up in the lane to seal Carolina's fate, but it was what he did after the dunk that transformed everything.

It was called "the Jesus dunk." And beyond being a religious experience, it was a biblical re-enactment with the beauty that Mel Gibson missed.

The dunk was a reverse, you see. And as Bias released his hands from the rim, he extended his arms … out … while still in the air … as if he were on a cross … as if he were Christ.

While 10 feet above the ground he seemed to float back down to the court, arms still out, palms still open. It was like he descended down to earth from heaven, from above the rim. The second it took for his feet to touch the court seemed more than one second in time. It seemed slower than slow motion, it seemed as if he was letting the world know his destiny, who he was destined to be.
I just now realized that, having just graduated from high school myself, Bias's imminent departure for the world of the NBA resonated for me on a deeper level. Only a week before, I'd been on the Senior Trip to Ocean City, watching everyone party like tomorrow would be worse than today. I wonder if that's what he felt, despite the lucrative career awaiting him.

I still think about you, Len. You were in my mind when I was doing things I shouldn't have. More importantly, though, you were in my mind when I decided not to do things I shouldn't have been doing. I'm sure that a lot of other people have had the same experience. Thank you for that. And for all those soaring reverse slams, which seemed almost mundane when you were on the court, but have since disappeared from the game.

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8 comments or Leave a comment
From: marcegoodman Date: June 19th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It is hard to believe that it's been twenty years now. I remember how utterly shocking it was. I hope I may someday be lucky enough to see video of "the Jesus dunk". I saw Yo La Tengo for the first time within the week of Bias' death and it was Bias to whom they dedicated their version of Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away".
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 19th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That must have been a very early Yo La Tengo show. The thing is, he did stuff like that on a regular basis. I recall at least five other dunks that come close to Jackson's description. I love to watch him so much. He was studying Interior Architecture.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love this post; I have read it about five times over. It thrills me because I can say with perfect honesty that I don't understand a single word of it. It's like written in Urdu, for me. Cool.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 20th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Gujarati, actually. . . :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 20th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oops, that was me, Laura, notorious sports fan.
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: June 20th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i was too young for bias but i find it amazing that a player who did not play a single game of pro ball can still be so present in the popular consciousness.

was he really *that* good? or is it because we love a tragedy?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 20th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, the investment in tragedy is a big factor in his story's staying power. But Red Auerbach doesn't draft you second if you suck, either. Bias's signature shot was a jump shot from the baseline -- this is pre-three point line, mind you -- in which he would elevate far above whoever was defending him. Sometimes he would do that starting with his back to the basket for a turn-around jump shot you usually only see from Tim Duncan these days. It's hard to compare him to contemporary players, but he made as much of an impact in college as Jordan did. Everyone was sure the Celtics dynasty would continue when they drafted him. On the other hand, he certainly wasn't Jesus.
From: marcegoodman Date: June 20th, 2006 08:42 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Here's a nice tribute I found on YouTube:

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