Great point about the how the tragic death of Len Bias turned into a disastrous policy legacy:
Bias’s death loosed all kinds of terrible ideas on the nation, foremost among them our famously destructive mandatory-minimum sentencing regime, which was enshrined into law in October 1986. It began the process of militarizing the sports world according to the hysterical exigencies of an unwinnable drug war, a process that accelerated when Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol at the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul and turned performance-enhancing drugs into the war’s newest rhetorical front.
Len Bias’s legacy is all around us even still. It’s the cup you have to pee in before starting a new job. It’s the demographic nightmare of crack sentencing. It’s the monthly freakout over recreational drug use among athletes. It’s Barry Bonds on the federal docket, being prosecuted by morons. It’s the ongoing attenuation of our Fourth Amendment rights, helped along by the work of sports league- and media-enabled drug warriors like Jeff Novitzky.