In the coming few years, Boston’s “big three” are going to walk away from the game, and Rajon Rondo is going to be the bridge to the future, the guy they start building around.
Reggie Lewis was going to be that guy in Boston in the early 1990s, when Boston’s first Big Three stepped away. Lewis was an All-Star and an immense talent, a gritty and talented player who had earned the love of his teammates and the city.
Then in Game 1 of the 1993 NBA playoffs, Lewis collapsed and shocked everyone, scared everyone but survived. He did not return those playoffs and that turned out to be his final NBA game. On July 27 of that summer, playing some pickup at Brandeis University, he collapsed again and this time never got up. Lewis was just 27 and entering the prime of his career.
He is still missed in Boston and in many places. Muggsy Bogues was a high school teammate and talked to SLAM about Lewis.
Words can’t describe the pain. Reg was such a great friend of ours, such a great person, so humble, and he was just starting to reach his stardom. That was his team, the Boston Celtics. The Big Three (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish), had passed the torch down to him and that was something that he felt so grateful for, so respected, because he respected those guys and he earned their respect—it wasn’t something that they just gave him, he earned it. He’s always been that type of humble guy. Even though he was the sixth man on a high school team, you know Reg could start on anybody’s team, but he was able to accept that role to allow us to do what we was able to do—to win the national championship two years in a row. And he always had been that way, and that’s one of the reasons why he was able to put Boston on his shoulders and able to do the things he was able to do and get the respect from the Big Three, as he called it. So now I know he’s smiling up there, watching over his kids, just wishing everybody can continue to keep doing what their supposed to do, because that’s what he would want us to do.
Rich Levine of the Standing Room Only blog at CSNNE.com, reminded us of this clip, which will remind — or maybe for younger readers show you for the first time — just how special Lewis was as a player.