Len Bias :: "86 via Harvard"

We have a thing for unremembered nostalgia. I often wear a shirt with Larry Bird's face on it. Only I know the secret that the two times I actually saw Larry Bird play in 1988 and 1989, he spent most of the evening laying face down on the hardwood vainly attempting to stretch out his ailing back. I was six. Larry Bird is a permutation, an unseen memory, an oral history, but he is certainly not, in any tangible way, mine. Boston's Len Bias, a shabby surf-rock outfit with underrated hooks, draw their name from a similar decade, the unremembered 80s and, in this case, a Boston Celtics draft pick, supposed to take the torch from Bird, who exploded his heart with cocaine before he ever played a minute in the NBA. The turn in "86 via Harvard" is one that reminds the listener of other lo-fi post-punk, echos of Real Estate and Beach Fossils. But this is, perhaps, only a mirage, a world where I easily could have spent that evening in 1988 falling in love with the second year pro, Len Bias, and not caring a lick that Larry Bird's back was shot and would never be the same. We are only robbed in the counterfactual, the memory of an "if", a moment both passed and passed on.

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