Twenty years since Reggie's last game

Twenty years since Reggie's last game
April 30, 2013, 2:45 pm
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I just noticed on Twitter that yesterday was the 20-year anniversary of Reggie Lewis’s final NBA game, which of course took place against the Charlotte Hornets in Game 1 of the first round of the 1993 NBA Playoffs.

It was a strange time in Celtics history, even before Reggie went down. That 1992-93 season was Boston’s first without Larry Bird. It was their last with Kevin McHale — who at 35, played only 23 minutes and averaged only 11 points a night. Robert Parish would play one more season in Boston, but was 39 years old and only a shadow of his former self. Still, the Celtics won 48 games, earned the fourth seed in the East and opened up the playoffs at home against Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and the up-and-coming Hornets.
 
The reason was Reggie Lewis. He was named captain after Bird’s retirement, and at 27 years old, wasted no time in embracing his role and proving that he was ready to lead the franchise into the uneasiness of life after the Big 3. In his first season as captain, Reggie was fifth in the NBA in total minutes (playing more than 40 minutes in 43 of 80 games), he was one of 19 players to average 20 points a game. And he was only getting better. Even if the Celtics necessarily weren’t. Reggie was Rondo without the attitude. He was Jeff Green without the inconsistency. He was the future. And a future you could depend on.
 
He scored 17 points in that first playoff game against the Hornets; 17 points in 13 minutes, I should add. I was at the Garden that night, and can still remember him tearing Charlotte apart. It was just Reggie being Reggie. He always stepped up in the playoffs (he averaged 28 points as the Celtics came within one game of the Conference Finals the previous year). And then he went down.
 
What most people don’t remember is that Lewis actually came back into the game after collapsing. Twice. Once after a brief stint on the bench, and then again to start the second half, after the Celtics team doctor declared (according to the Boston Globe) that: "There's nothing there that I can determine other than maybe it's low blood sugar or just he's so excited.”
 
But upon returning, he clearly wasn’t right, was removed after six minutes and never took the floor again. He died 12 weeks later.
 
This summer, CSNNE will air a TV special dedicated to Reggie life and legacy here in Boston. If that doesn’t interest you, check out the preview and no doubt it will change your mind.
 
In the meantime, here’s a piece of Boston box score history:
 
April 29, 1993 — Reggie Lewis’s last game.