The story of Raymond Lewis is one of the most unique in the history of California basketball. He was the youngest player ever drafted when in 1973 the Philadelphia 76ers took him in the first round out of Cal-State Los Angeles and Verbum Dei High School. A series of poor management decisions for Lewis’ career ultimately led to him never playing a single minute in a regulation NBA game. This unique sports tragedy and cautionary tale is now being chronicled in a documentary that can use the help of Cal-Hi Sports hoops enthusiasts.
Note: Now that the games are complete, we will soon begin the basketball all-state nomination process. Raymond Lewis is our state sophomore of the year for 1969, the CIF Division II and state junior of the year for 1970 and the CIF Division I State Player of the Year for 1971. In April, we’ll name our class and CIF Division players of the year for the 2014-15 season as well as the rest of the 37th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state team. You can send an all-state nomination to: email@example.com or (209) 463-1219 (FAX) or call publisher Mark Tennis at (209) 463-9050. Please send with each athlete’s height, position, year in school, and significant statistics. To read our expanded final state rankings and the various final CIF divisional state rankings for both boys and girls basketball, you need to be a member of our Gold Club. Join our team today by CLICKING HERE.
If you follow high school basketball in California or know anything about SoCal basketball history, you’ve heard the name Raymond Lewis before.
You’ve probably heard some of the stories, too: How the lightening quick 6-foot-1 point guard beat 30 other elite streetball players 1-on-1 all in the same day, or how Lewis led a group of his Verbum Dei teammates to a win over the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer league rookie team, while still in high school. Or how about the unforgettable night when he dropped 53 points on top three in the country Long Beach State his sophomore year at Cal-St-Los Angeles?
There are countless stories, and when the Under Armour Elite 24 was held at Venice Beach from 2010-2012, it helped spread Lewis’ fame and notoriety. One of the teams for the elite high school event was named the Raymond Lewis squad.
Well-respected scout and U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame member Frank Burlison of BurlisonOnBasketball.com feels Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills, a strong bet to make this year’s All-State team, is the best point guard prospect in the state since Jason Kidd of Alameda St. Joseph graduated in 1991-92. But he feels Lewis is the state’s most talented point guard, ever.
“Raymond Lewis is one of the greatest guards I’ve ever seen and nobody can ever change my mind about that,” said Grassroots basketball pioneer and former shoe company marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro, whose own ESPN 30 for 30 documentary is set to air April 16. “The difference between Raymond and some of the guys you hear about being the best to never make it or the best streetball legends is Raymond did it and proved himself against pros.”
Documentary film maker Ryan Polomski and co-producer Dean Prator have worked hard to raise awareness of Lewis’ story and in the past couple of years unearthed the necessary archival footage of Lewis to take their project to the next level.
Now Polomski and Prator are reaching out to the basketball community for support of their 30-day Kickstarter Campaign “Raymond Lewis: L.A. Legend” in order to complete the interviews, obtain license fees and create original animations. They have an ambitious goal of raising $45,000 between March 31 and April 29. To view the Kickstarter Campaign, CLICK HERE.
How Cal-Hi Sports Users Can Help: Any mention of this Kickstarter Campaign and/or Raymond Lewis’ story on various social media platforms will help spread the word about this real-life basketball cautionary tale — and raise awareness of the Kickstarter campaign. Various prizes are awarded to donors of the Kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter Page: CLICK HERE
Official Website: raymondlewis.com
Facebook Page: CLICK HERE
The completed Raymond Lewis documentary will tell the unique life story of Raymond Lewis, a basketball playground legend from South Los Angeles and controversial NBA walkout who claimed to be ‘blackballed’ by the league during the 1970’s. Late Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian called him “the greatest offensive player [he] ever saw.” Many consider him the greatest talent to never play a game in the NBA.
Utilizing never-before seen archival game film once feared lost, and interviews with some of the game’s greats (Former Laker Michael Cooper, former NBA All-Star and current Cal-St. Northridge coach Reggie Theus, and Tarkanian, to name a few), “Raymond Lewis: L.A. Legend” will attempt to piece together the mystery, myths and truths of one of basketball’s strangest careers and most meaningful stories.
Feel free to contact Director and co-Producer Ryan Polomski at (512) 417-2685 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding the documentary or Kickstarter campaign.