Shock lingers for ex-Poet Derrick Lewis

August 03, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The friendship had gone on for half their lives, dating to their days as 13-year-olds at the Cecil-Kirk Recreation Center in East Baltimore. It was a friendship that grew stronger as they played together at Dunbar High School and Northeastern University.

Two weeks ago, Derrick Lewis called Reggie Lewis to see how he was coming along since the Boston Celtics captain was found to have a heart ailment in May and re-evaluated in June, when news of a neurological condition seemed to give him hope of playing again.

"We didn't get a chance to talk, because little Reggie was crying in the background," Derrick Lewis recalled yesterday morning, standing outside of Northeastern's Matthews Arena. "Reggie said that he'd get back to me. I figured I'd see him at home for a cookout and our kids could play together."

The phone call never came. Instead, there was only the news a week ago that Reggie Lewis had died of cardiac arrest. Coming back to Boston for his friend's funeral was almost impossible for Derrick Lewis to fathom.

"I still can't believe that Reggie's gone," said Derrick Lewis, one of several former Dunbar players, including current NBA players Reggie Williams, David Wingate and Muggsy Bogues, to attend yesterday's service.

But Derrick Lewis, who was a year behind Reggie Lewis at Dunbar and later transferred from South Carolina to rejoin his Dunbar teammate at Northeastern, said that he takes some small consolation that Reggie Lewis had achieved more in 27 years than most would in a lifetime.

"The one thing he did, he lived his dream," said Derrick Lewis. "He was at the peak of his dream. It's sad to be snuffed out."

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