Lewis was born in Los Angeles, California and is regarded as one of the best players never to have played in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Lewis eighteenth in the first round of the 1973 NBA draft. During training camp he was reported to have had a nasty contract dispute and was told to mature for another year.
Lewis played in several streetball and summer pro league matches and became a bona fide "street legend". Lewis is reported to have dropped 56 points in a 1983 summer pro league game against Michael Cooper, a winner of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Jerry Tarkanian, legendary coach at UNLV said in his 2005 Novel "Runnin' Rebel that "Raymond Lewis was the greatest basketball player I ever saw.
Lewis walked out of his rookie year after a contact negotiation disagreement with the 76ers. His second professional year he tried to play for the ABA's Utah Stars but the 76ers threatened a lawsuit that kept him from playing. The following year Lewis said he left because the 76ers "tore up my original agreement and said, 'Now you have to make the team.' There were 12 guys on the team with guaranteed contracts. I said, 'Wait a minute.' "
Lewis died of complications following an attempted amputation of an infected leg.
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