In 1986, Tony Massenburg is a freshman teammate of Bias. He came from Stony Creek, Virginia to learn to play “like Len” and the death of his idol shook him to his core.
In Temple Hills, Maryland, sixteen-year-old Walt Williams can’t stop crying, his dream of following Len’s footsteps to Maryland torn away in an instant. Losing the hometown hero crushed the hope from his teenage world.
To ball players, Len Bias was “The Man,” a shining symbol of achievement, a teacher of the game at the highest level and the model of the life they wanted to live.
The nation saw Len Bias’ death as a moral failure and all of Maryland as guilty by association. But Tony and Walt focused on the gifts in the lessons from Len’s life, and that hard-won education molded them into pillars of support in Maryland’s revival, courageous and unrelenting professionals in the NBA, and outstanding examples of triumph over tragedy.
In LESSONS FROM LENNY, World Champion Tony Massenburg and Terrapin Athletics Hall of Fame “Wizard” Walt Williams, teammates at Maryland and in the NBA, reflect on the deep impact Len Bias has on their lives and the remarkable journey beyond his tragic death - including intimate and emotional conversations with the Legends of Maryland Basketball: Hall of Fame Coaches Gary Williams and Charles “Lefty” Driesell, Len Elmore, Johnny Rhodes, Juan Dixon, Steve Blake and more. Tony and Walt grew up “wanting to be Len Bias” and found that by emulating his best qualities, they could survive heartbreak and scandal, lay the foundation for a championship program, and forge friendships into a brotherhood that lasts through college, professional basketball, and life in the “real world.” This uplifting and unflinching book reminds us that one cruel moment cannot wipe out a life of excellence and inspiration.