Reggie Lewis was the future of the Celtics franchise, an All-Star player on a statistical track to the Hall of Fame after six NBA seasons who was supposed to transition Boston from the Larry Bird era into its next phase of greatness.
He passed away tragically at age 27, twenty years ago today.
The video clip above gives you a glimpse of the unique skill set Lewis brought to basketball — he is the only player to block four of Michael Jordan’s shots in a single game.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston did a profile of Lewis recently, and here’s what Jordan told her about trying to score against Lewis:
I called Jordan earlier this week to see if he had any recollections of a young Lewis blocking him four times.
“Oh, I remember it well,” Jordan laughed. “He had my number that particular night.”
“I was trying to be aggressive with him. I was trying to take advantage of his passive demeanor, but he didn’t back down. He never relinquished his own aggressiveness.
“He shocked me a little bit.”
“His length confused me,” Jordan conceded. “Every time I thought I had him beat, he’d recover and get up on me. When you have the skills to break someone down on defense and you can’t, it makes you tentative offensively.”
MacMullan also points out just how Lewis was shaping up to be one of the all-time greats:
By the time he died, he was one of six players who, from 1988-93, posted at least 7,500 points, 1,500 rebounds, 1,000 assists and 500 steals. The other five — Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and Chris Mullin — are all Hall of Famers.
Comcast SportsNet will debut a 90-minute documentary reflecting on Lewis’ life on Sunday at 8 p.m.