Seventeen years ago Tuesday, during practice in Walthan, Mass., Reggie Lewis collapsed on a basketball court from sudden cardiac arrest and died.
I was only 10 years old at the time (frighteningly, Lewis was 27 years old when he passed -- his death was later attributed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- the same age I am right now), so I don't have any memory of where I was that day, or how it made me feel.
But others certainly do, including the guys at Red's Army.
I was a young Celtic fan at the time, latching onto the team during the tail-end of the Big Three Era so Reggie was the next big Celtic star to take over. I remember July 27th, 1993 like it was yesterday and it's still devastating to think about it today ... We'll never know how good Reggie would have been, but it's clear that his death was a big reason for the Celtics' dark and dreary decade in the 1990's.
More reactions and remembrances after the jump.
From the Celtics, on the 10 year anniversary of his death:
He was the quiet Celtic with the infectious smile. He was reserved and almost shy but his actions, both on and off the basketball court, spoke much louder than any words. He was a 6-7-basketball player, the captain of the team and the leading scorer. He was a devoted husband, father and friend to many. He was the torchbearer to a new Green and White generation. He was a soft-spoken yet powerful leader. Reggie Lewis, 27 years old, fell victim to natural causes and on Tuesday, July 27, 1993, Celtics fans tearfully said, 'good bye'.
NESN's Alula Shiferaw, who reflects and wonders aloud:
Imagine what Lewis and Bias could have accomplished together. How many more championships would the Celtics have won? One? Two? Three? Four? Five?
Boston fans can only wonder.
The Celtics retired Lewis' No. 35 after his death, one of only two Celtics players whose number was retired without winning a championship (Ed Macauley was the other). It was a fitting honor for Lewis - and a way to ensure his legacy is never forgotten.
And over at WEEI, Kirk Minihane, like so many, wonders "What if?":
An almost impossible cover as a one-on-one scorer. Also one of the two or three players I can remember who actually was a better shooter with a hand in his face as opposed to being wide open (the harder the shot the more likely he made it). His pull-up jumper, usually after two or three hard dribbles with his left hand, was becoming one of the NBA's signature moves by 1993. What made it so difficult to defend was what in large part made Lewis such a good defender -- his long arms. He was 6-foot-7 but seemed 6-11 with his wingspan. Ask Michael Jordan -- nobody defended Jordan better (want proof?). A terrific all-around player on the verge of stardom when it all ended.
Reggie Lewis died 17 years ago Tuesday.
And we still wonder why it happened and what could have been.