Bias’ mother discusses self-esteem

By Claudia Curry

Lonise Bias, the mother of the late basketball player Len Bias, spoke to a packed Duke Ellington Ballroom Wednesday night on peer pressure and self-esteem.

Bias offered a multitude of suggestions on how to be your own person and stand up for what you believe in. “Opinions are like noses. You have yours—I have mine. I did not come here to offend any of you. I think you’re all beautiful young people.

“The only reason I have come here is to encourage and help correct. Many people in today’s society are trying to solve problems by dealing with the symptom rather than the cause,” she said.

Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose three years ago. He played basketball for the University of Maryland and was selected as a first-round draft choice by the Boston Celtics three days before his death.

Bias said she did not come to NIU to speak on drug and alcohol abuse. “Those are not the issues I came to talk about. The issues tonight are self-esteem, self-control and self-respect.”

Bias urged students to find strength in themselves and believe in themselves to make the right decisions. She quoted from the song “The Greatest Love of All” in her speech and told students to “find your strength in love.”

“Think about the decisions you make. Think about your families and how they will react,” she said. “Think about the people that love you. Listen to what your heart tells you to do.”

Bias said so many young people today are involved in things that they do not want to be involved in. “Don’t go out and treat yourself and your body like trash,” she said.

“Every time you want to go out and treat yourself like trash, you have to pull out your credentials. Look at all you have to lose by doing the wrong thing. We are all miracles and it’s time for us to get it together.

“You’d be surprised how many people will respect you for doing what you believe in. It’s not easy,” she said. “No one can go up the smooth side of a mountain—only the rough side. Life is rough, but you have to learn to roll with it and things get easier to handle.”

“This is life. Bad things happen. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. We all make mistakes. You’ve got to get up, brush yourself off and get going again.”

Bias said one very important concept to learn is to not take your loved ones for granted. “It only takes one thing to happen for you to call out for your mom or dad. Don’t brush your parents off,” she said. “There is nothing worse than loving someone and not getting the chance to let them know until it is too late.”