SBD/16/Franchises

S.I. EXAMINES THE REGGIE LEWIS CASE

     Fallout from the WALL STREET JOURNAL article on the death of
Reggie Lewis continues, as Jack McCallum of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
examines the story's credibility.  Despite the attention given to
allegations that Lewis was a drug-user, the "most serious"
questions raised by the story are that the Celtics "may have
allowed financial and public-relation concerns to take precedence
over Lewis's medical care," and that the NBA's drug policy failed
to display "an accurate assessment of his condition."  Donna
Harris Lewis, the wife of the basketball star, was interviewed
for SI's piece. Regarding the Journal's claims that Lewis refused
drug testing, Harris Lewis says that if doctors would have "told
us this was something that had to be done, Reggie would've
complied."  Harris Lewis also states that he had submitted to a
test when taking out a life insurance policy with Prudential
Insurance Company in '90.  SI also spoke with other medical
experts who support the diagnosis of a common cold virus leading
to Lewis's death, and not cocaine abuse.  Nugget forward Reggie
Williams, Lewis' high school teammate, said Lewis never thought
about drugs and that "he wouldn't even drink a beer."   The
Journal story could have consequences to the Celtics, as a
"who's-in-charge-here atmosphere pervades the club, the
consequences of which were evident in a disastrous press
conference" held last week (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 3/20 issue).
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