Lefty Driesell on Len Bias and Marilyn Monroe


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

 

During his two-hour sitdown with ESPN 980′s Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro last week, Lefty Driesell was asked a simple question about Len Bias, and when he knew that Bias would be great.

That led to a seven-and-a-half minute answer that ranged from Bias to Brad Daugherty to rules about hand slapping to the Maryland Hall of Fame to Marilyn Monroe to nakedness to Buck Williams to religious retreats to heaven.

Listen to it here. Here are highlights:

On Bias: “A lot of people don’t realize this, but Leonard didn’t start as a freshman, until midway through the season. He averaged about seven points a game as a freshman. And that was bad coaching on my part. I probably should have started him earlier.”

On greatness: “He would mess up my practices. So mad. Because he could score any time he wanted to, he could block every shot he wanted to, he could get every rebound. So I used to sit him down. I said Leonard, come over here next to me during practice, because I’ve got to teach these other guys how to play. That’s how good he was.”

On Halls of Fame: “Bob Geoghan is the first guy – where is Bob, raise your hand up – from the [D.C. Basketball] Hall of Fame, he’s the first guy to put Leonard Bias in a Hall of Fame. Maryland has never done it. Which I think is ludicrous.”

On Marilyn Monroe: “I was talking to Tony Massenburg, he and Walt Williams are gonna write a book about Leonard. And it’s like they told me – and I never thought of this until they told me – hey,  Marilyn Monroe died of drugs, right? I mean, she’s still a famous movie star, and was my favorite movie star at the time. In fact, I’ll tell you a little secret. She used to sleep naked, right? And I always slept with pajamas,  until I fell in love with Marilyn. So now, I still sleep naked. And my grandchildren come in there and say granddaddy, how come you don’t wear pajamas? I say because Marilyn Monroe never did. They don’t know who Marilyn Monroe was. And I can’t stand sleeping with pajamas on anymore. But all of those people died of drugs, but they’re still famous people, and they should be – Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson. They all died of drugs. Leonard died of drugs.”

On draft night: “Of all the players that I coached, I can’t remember – well, my memory is bad, anyway – but right after he signed with the Celtics in the No. 2 spot, he called me up, right? And he said Coach, this is Leonard. I said what are you doing, Leonard, I see you went No. 2. He said Coach, I just want to thank you for what you did for me. I sort of get broke up when I remember it. He called me up from New York.”

On death and heaven: “When I talked to the Maryland team a couple weeks ago, Mark Turgeon asked me to speak to them, I said, do y’all know you’re gonna die? You gonna die, all of you. All of y’all gonna die. Everybody gonna die. Well, if you want to go to heaven, you got to go to church. You know, you’ve got to believe that you’re gonna go to heaven. If you don’t want to go to heaven, then don’t believe.”

On Bias and the Hall of Fame, again: “He should BE in the Maryland Hall of Fame.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · April 22, 2013