TV Daily Sports: Len Bias & Fab Five Documentaries Tonight

There’s good baseball on TV, and the NBA draft yesterday needs to be rehashed, but the most compelling television on Friday night’s daily sports docket lies in a couple documentaries on college sports.

ESPNU will show 30-for-30 episode on the tragic death of Len Bias back in 1986. For those that might be too young and haven’t heard of the tragedy, Bias was the second player picked in ’86 draft. The star from Maryland was considered a can’t-miss player and had been landed by the just-crowned Boston Celtics.

Instead, Bias celebrated his selection by going to a cocaine party and ending up with a drug-induced heart attack. The one-hour long 30-for-30 looks back at everything that transpired.

Then at 9 PM ET, it’s a three-hour documentary on the “Fab Five”, the group of Michigan freshmen who showed up in campus and captured the imagination of college basketball. They never captured a Big Ten title, but knew how to turn it on in March, reaching the NCAA final two consecutive years before the best of the group—Chris Webber, who had his best NBA years with the Sacramento Kings—went pro. Jalen Rose went on to a good career with the Indiana Pacers a year later, and is now on the ABC/ESPN studio team for the NBA.

For those more interested in the contemporary NBA, there will be draft reviews on NBA-TV, starting at 7 PM ET. The league’s network will give one hour to reviewing the Eastern Conference and another hour to the Western Conference. I was glad to see Cleveland pick UNLV forward Anthony Bennett. It wasn’t Bennett per se—I’d have been just as happy to see the Cavs go for Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Otto Porter or any number of the solid prospects that were out there. But I thought it spoke well of Cleveland’s judgment that they didn’t force a pick on a risky Nerlens Noel or an overrated Alex Len.

And for baseball, MLB Network will show the opener of a good Cincinnati-Texas series tonight at 8 PM ET. MLB coverage has been going daily here at TheSportsNotebook this week, including yesterday’s feature on the Boston Red Sox. Today we’ll go in another direction and talk about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as racing resumes on Saturday night.