Reggie Lewis had barely reached his peak with the Boston Celtics before his untimely passing.
July 27, 1993: Celtics captain Reggie Lewis - the first team captain to replace Larry Bird - was shooting baskets with a friend at Brandeis University outside Boston when he suddenly collapsed. Police arrived within minutes, followed closely by the paramedics. Advanced cardiac life support measures were administered on the 6-foot-7 forward before Lewis was taken to a nearby hospital. Resuscitation efforts continued to be unsuccessful.
Lewis had collapsed with a heart ailment on the parquet floor at the Garden three months earlier during a first-round playoff game against the Charlotte Hornets. As a result, there had been conflicting medical opinions over whether Lewis should continue playing basketball. Some doctors believed that Lewis would be risking his life if he continued to play, while others concluded that his heart ailment wasn't life-threatening.
The Celtics' first round draft choice out of local Northeastern University, Lewis averaged 17.6 points in his six seasons in the NBA. Originally from Baltimore, Lewis entered the NBA in 1987 and was selected as an All-Star in 1992. Remarkably, Lewis remains the only Celtic in the history of the franchise to have had 100 rebounds, 100 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocked shots in a single season (1991-92 with 394 rebounds, 185 assists, 125 steals and 105 blocked shots).
The Celtics retired Lewis' No. 35 jersey to forever memorialize their fallen star. At the time of his death, Reggie Lewis was only 27 years old.