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Reggie Lewis, a 6'7" small forward out of Northeastern University, was the steal of the 1987 draft when he was selected with the 22nd pick.
After sitting and watching for most of his rookie year, Reggie reassured Celtics fans everywhere that a post-Larry era would okay. With Larry Bird sidelined for most of the 1988-89 season with double-heel surgery, Reggie stepped in and averaged over 18 points per game.
Lewis improved every season, becoming an All-Star for the first time in the 19912-92 season after averaging over 20 points a game. He averaged a brilliant 28 points per game in the playoffs that season. Yes, the future was in good hands.
After Bird retired following that 1991-92 season, Reggie was named captain of the team.
He again led the team in scoring with a 20.8 points per game average, and led the Celtics to the playoffs. In his first playoff game as captain,
Reggie was absolutely lighting it up. He already had 17 points in the first 13 minutes of the game before collapsing on the floor. It would be the last time Reggie played for the team.
On July 27, 1993, while practicing alone at Brandeis University, Reggie again collapsed to the floor. He would never get up.
A big piece of the Celtics died that day. Aside from losing a great young man, the Celtics lost their present and their future. Red Auerbach was so upset that he stepped down from the day-to-day operations of the team shortly after Reggie's passing.
Reggie Lewis's number 35 jersey was retired in 1995.