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S.I. EXAMINES THE REGGIE LEWIS CASE
Published March 16, 1995
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).