In the Celtics’ impending pitch to free agent Kevin Durant, there won’t be an issue offering him his favored number 35 jersey.
For Boston, the number 35 has hung in the rafters along with other retired jerseys since 1995. The tragic reason behind it was the death of 27-year-old Reggie Lewis in 1993. For the Celtics to sign Durant, it’s always been assumed that he would have to wear another number (having worn 35 for the entirety of his career in the NBA).
Yet in a recent interview with Kevin O’Connor of Comcast SportsNet, Lewis’s mother, Inez Ritch, gave her blessing for Boston to offer Durant 35:
I don’t think it would take anything from Reggie because his number is still hanging up in the Garden. If I see Durant running up and down the court with the No. 35, I don’t know how my emotions would be until it happens.
I don’t think I would be upset about it. I think it would be a good thing because he is a very nice, humble young man. I don’t know a lot about him, but I know of some of the things he has achieved while wearing the No. 35.
NBA free agency begins midnight on Friday, June 29, with an extensive list of players looking for a new contract.