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Toughest guy Joe Dumars guarded not named Jordan? Reggie Lewis.

Aug 7, 2013, 4:01 PM EDT

Reggie Lewis Getty Images

Because his life and career was cut down in its prime, you can forget just how great an offensive player Reggie Lewis was. The Celtics swingman averaged 20.8 points a game the final two years of his career.

Joe Dumars didn’t forget.

The now Pistons GM sat down with Zach Lowe of Grantland for a Q&A, mostly to talk about Detroit’s offseason (more coming on that in a future post), but Zach ended it with a great fan question:

Who was the toughest guy Dumars ever had to guard not named Michael Jordan?

…it was Reggie Lewis for me. He was long, athletic, smooth, he could raise up over you and shoot. He was a really good defender, too. He was a tough, tough cover. Man, he was a tough guy to guard. He was definitely the one, other than MJ, who was the toughest for me to figure out. He was so long, and you couldn’t really get physical with him, because he was so slim, and it always seemed like I was getting called for fouls. He was a great, great player.

Lewis died at age 27 of a heart condition, at the peak of his career. If you didn’t know about him, you should read the fantastic piece Jackie MacMullan did at ESPN about him recently.

And you can watch this.

  1. andrexdrummondxforxdpoy - Aug 7, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Never heard of him but a great story and what a tragedy

  2. kb2408 - Aug 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    It was a sad day for this sports fan when Reggie died. He was just entering his prime years.

  3. nflcrimerankingscom - Aug 7, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Never heard of Reggie Lewis? You youngins need to start learning some history. These things called “books” might help you.

    • cardswin519 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      He died 20 years ago. Teenagers posting on a sports website?! Confounding! Shame on you kids for not reading every basketball book out there. No chance they’re actually out there.. maybe playing the game? You oldins need to start being less of these things called “condescending douche-bags.” Might help you.

    • slickdemetrius - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Yeah, because perhaps andrexdrummondxforxdpoy has an interest in basketball and may not be up on it’s history, so he doesn’t read.
      Have you ever thought that just perhaps someone who is new to following a sport may be a physicist or a historian, a lawyer – someone who reads important academic works, not entertainment-oriented tomes. So get off your high horse grandpa.

  4. lakerslegacy2432 - Aug 7, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    he was a hell of a ball player

  5. bux1022 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Never heard of him?? Should of kept your mouth shut and do a little reading. I guess if he’s not on 2k or Live these days most of these youngsters don’t know him or them for that matter!!

  6. mrlitl - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Never heard of him? Guess I’m getting old.

  7. accipiterq - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I still can’t believe he died. I remember exactly where I was when I heard, my mom was driving me home from school, and we were going around the curve of this country road near my house. I still can’t believe it. For the younger folks, picture someone like Paul George just dropping dead one day. Definitely a star, not a super-duper star, but definitely a star player. That’s what Reggie Lewis was. Him, Len Bias, Drazen Petrovic….it’s shocking to me to think that any of them died; especially Reggie & Drazen…just so saddening

  8. nolanwiffle - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    1986 draft Lenny Bias
    1987 draft Reggie Lewis

    Should have been the bridge to exit the Bird era……killed that franchise for a good number of years.

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