Retired NBA backs: Reggie Lewis, heart of the Celtics
On the roof of Garden Boston hang the shirts of the most famous players of the Celtics. There is the number 33 of Larry Bird, the great green legend, those of his contemporaries McHale and Parish, the first big stars of this team like Bob Cousy or Bill Russell. However, also a shirt from someone did not win or won anything with the most successful team in the NBA.
The one looks the number 35 and the name Lewis, T – Shirt Reggie Lewis, a boy from Baltimore who starred unfortunately one of the saddest stories of the NBA. Lewis’ is the only shirt removed from the Celtics of a player who has never won anything, but it is the best tribute that could be made to someone who became the heart of Boston.
1987, his arrival to the NBA and the Celtics
In the late eighties, the Celtics became old. The years passed in vain for the generation that led Larry Bird and Boston needed new blood for the generational change that seemed as close as inevitable. With that mission, they dived into college basketball for the man they needed, Reggie Lewis. They had to go far, because he played at Northeastern University in Boston, and played very well.
The Celtics spent their first – round draft 1987 in Lewis, coming from averaging 22 points per game in his college career and break all records of his college. Lewis was not going to be one of the best rookies in his first year in the NBA, in a generation in which came Robinson or Pippen, but with the arrival of Jimmy Rodgers to the bench of the Celtics his luck was to change.
Its emergence and its taking of leadership
With Larry Bird routinely injured, Rodgers gave the alternative to Lewis in the position of ‘3’, and start playing regularly began to demonstrate the qualities to note that he had led the NBA. His year sophomore it concluded with more than 18 points per game, showing that quiet and shy boy had been taking good note of everything and had learned well.
The next two years, Lewis remained silent and devoting himself to play, averaged over 20 points per game and even went to the All Star Game. Thus, the withdrawal of Larry Bird, yet tragic that this could mean for the franchise, it seemed much more bearable under the leadership of Reggie Lewis, who assumed the captaincy and the role of star for the playoffs in 1993, The baptized as the best in history.
His tragic death
On April 29, the Celtics made their debut in these playoffs against the Hornets in it would be the last game of Lewis. After 13 minutes, forward she fell unconscious and although the Celtics won that night, did not exceed the lower of their star player and lost the series against prognosis. In addition, the worst was yet to come.
Three months later, the morning of July 27, Lewis was training on the slopes of the Brandeis University when he suffered a heart attack. A police officer on duty tried in vain resuscitation, certifying the death of a basketball star who was only 27 years old. The heart of the Celtics was broken at the same time as Lewis.
To the already sad news of the death of Lewis was united the controversy that surrounded it later. The unproven accusations about the use of drugs such as cocaine, the problem that had Celtics with his contract … With all this, the Boston team would live their darkest time since its inception, with seven of eight seasons without stepping playoffs, the record More negative of the most winning franchise in the league.