Reggie Lewis was on his way to becoming an all-time NBA great when he left us way too soon, a death that hit the Boston community — and the entire NBA — hard.
He was only 27 when he died, but Reggie Lewis had already achieved a ton. He was an All-Star, a Celtics captain, a mentor to underprivileged youth — he was on his way to becoming as beloved as any legendary Boston sports figure. It didn’t hurt that he would pull off insane feats like block Michael Jordan four times in a single game and was putting up incredible numbers as well. He was only the sixth player from 1988-1993 to score 7,500 points, 1,500 rebounds, 1,000 assists, and 500 steals. The other five are all Hall of Famers, so Lewis was almost certainly on his way.
Sadly, that never happened — on July 27, 1993, he collapsed on the court during practice. He had collapsed once before, during a playoff game the previous spring. But this time, he never got up, and was pronounced dead two hours later. His cause of death was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common athletic ailment where the heart thickens, eventually causing heart attacks and cardiac arrest. Regardless of the diagnosis, losing Lewis left a huge, long-lasting hole in Boston sports, and Boston in general.