FILM PROJECT 50% COMPLETED!

My film partner Ryan Polomski and I have been working on the incredibly fascinating story of L.A. basketball legend Raymond Lewis. To date we have filmed about twenty individual interviews roughly half of our expected interview roster which includes current NCAA Division 1 basketball coaches, former NBA players, as well as, teammates of Raymond Lewis. (See current list of interviewees below!)

 

Having said that, we still have many more film interviews to preform including such notable hopefuls as former NBA now ESPN commentator Doug  Collins, NBA president Kiki Vandeweghe, former NBA players Bill Walton, Marques Johnson, Freeman Williams, Pat Riley, Jonny Moore, George Gervin and many more.

 

However, in order to complete the documentary Raymond Lewis L.A. Legend documentary film we need an estimated 100K to finish this project which would essentially pay for the 20 plus remaining interviews, licensing fees, edit a first rough draft, create original animations and so on. This is a story that must be told.

 

Support us as we take an unbiased look of what we feel over the past 40 plus years is L.A.'s best kept secret. If you would like to invest IN PART OR WHOLE or make a sizable donation to this project please contact Dean Prator at dean@raymondlewis.com or Ryan Polomski at Ryan@raymondlewis.com. 

 

With you help we can get this film project done!
 

100K Needed to Help Finish Filming Project 

RAYMOND LEWIS: L.A. LEGEND

Documentary Film Crowdfunding Campaign

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RAYMOND LEWIS: L.A. LEGEND
ORIGINAL FILM TRAILER

RAYMOND LEWIS: L.A. LEGEND
FUNDRAISING FILM TRAILER

Featuring: Lorenzo Romar, Reggie Theus, Michael Cooper, Jerry Tarkanian, Gene Shue, Sonny Vaccaro and Lewis Documentary film makers Dean Prator and Ryan Polomski. 

At long last, we have set out to tell the almost unbelievable story of one of L.A.'s greatest basketball players, Raymond Lewis. Join us as we attempt to unravel the complicated web of this cautionary tale while trying to make sense of the senseless of how this extraordinary “can’t miss” NBA talent did indeed miss, never fulfilling his true ambition of becoming an NBA Star.

Lorenzo's Story 

Former NBA Golden State Warrior and head basketball coach of the Washington Husky's, Lorenzo talks about the hypothetical one-on-one matchup between Raymond Lewis and Michael Jordan in the documentary film.

LEWIS SCORES 73-POINTS ON UC SANTA BARBARA

Billy Jones sat down with us to vividly recount the 1972 spring conference game matchup between his talented U.C. Santa Barbara basketball team when they faced L.A. State, now Cal State L.A. led by Raymond Lewis. 

Jones was the freshman basketball coach at U.C. Santa Barbara at a time when freshmen were not allowed to play varsity ball until their sophomore year. However, in that game, Raymond Lewis would go on to put on one of the greatest shooting exhibitions in basketball history when he touched the Gauchos for 73-points while making a blistering 30 of 40 field goals and 13 free throws shooting an unheard of 75% from the field. 

What's even more remarkable about Lewis' 73-points is the fact that the three-point shot had not yet been implemented into the game of basketball at the high school, college or NBA levels.
 

During the 1971-72 college year, Lewis would go on to lead all freshman scorers averaging 38.9 points a game while shooting 58.9 percent from the field. An incredible feat for a guard that rarely shot inside of twenty feet. North Carolina State and NBA Hall-of-Famer David Thompson was second. 

DR. HARRY EDWARDS

Dr. Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley sat down with us to talk about turbulent times of the 1960s during the civil rights era which led many high-profile professional Black athletes to seek social change and recognition through their respective sport.

He also talked about Raymond Lewis whom he had known of since Lewis' college days at Cal State L.A. while psychoanalyzing several determining factors in which he felt caused Lewis to leave the Sixer camp in an effort to chase a dream and get rewarded with what he thought he was worth. 

Furthermore... Dr. Edwards rendered his professional advice to the youth of today if somehow they found themselves in a similar situation and what he would have suggested to a young Raymond Lewis back in 1973 after he already signed a contract with the 76ers. 

THE RAYMOND LEWIS DOCUMENTARY FILM

Watts CA, a small predominantly African American community clings to the outer edges of the city Los Angeles. A scattered neighborhood of stucco homes and public housing, Watts, for the most part, is probably best known by many for its infamous 1965 riot.

 

In those days little was expected from the citizens of this improvised community, but from the ashes of the charred city rose a number of successful businessmen, entertainers and athletes who would leave their lasting legacy in society.

 

Terdema Ussery President and CEO of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Roy Hamilton Vice President of Fox Sports, Tyreese Gibson R&B Grammy-nominated singer/actor and Leon Sylvers of the 70’s legendary R&B group “The Sylvers” all at one time or another called Watts home.

 

Tucked in the midst of this city’s economic struggles and turmoil sits a rare jewel, not one of a diamond variety, but a small, all-male, 300 student Catholic Jesuit High School named Verbum Dei.

The “Verb” as it is also called, is a college and career preparatory school which to date have produced extraordinary talent.

 

The afore mentioned Hamilton, Sylvers and current NBA standout Andre Miller all attended Verbum Dei along with a host of other students who eventually became businessmen, politicians and professional athletes.

 

But for those who have lived in the Watts for any length of time will tell you that the man who put the “Verb” on the map was a legendary almost mythical like basketball player named Raymond Lewis. Lewis, for the most part is the reason why most have even heard of Verbum Dei High school.

 

In 1969, as a 16-year-old sophomore, Lewis led the Verbum Dei Eagles basketball team to their first CIF Southern Section 2A title, while winning the CIF 3A title in 1970 and the CIF 4A tile in 1971 against the “Super Team” Crescenta Valley High.

Lewis was also twice named California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) player of the year. He would then go on to play his college ball at Cal State L.A. where he led the nation for freshman basketball players averaging 38.9 points per game while shooting 58.9 percent from the field.

 

During that year Lewis scored 73 points against U.C. Santa Barbara breaking his own record of 51, he previously set earlier that season. North Carolina State’s and future NBA Hall-of Famer David Thompson was second in scoring that year.


As a sophomore during the 1973 season, Lewis was the NCAA’s second leading scoring in the nation averaging 32.9 points a game one point less than Pepperdine’s William “Bird” Averitt’s 33.9 point per game average. Lewis’ most memorable performance that year came against the third-ranked Long Beach State 49ers, then coached by the legendary Jerry Tarkanian.

Lewis documentary film makers Ryan Polomski and Dean Prator

He scored 53 points in a double-overtime thriller to lead Cal State to a 107-104, upset win. Later that year Lewis declared himself into the NBA draft and was selected as the 18th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

There he would sign a three year deal for what he though was a $400,000 contract. However, after reports that he dominated the NBA’s and Sixers number one draft choice Doug Collins in the Sixers rookie camp, Lewis then wanted to renegotiate his contract to match Collins five year $200,000 contract, which made him the league’s first million dollar player.

 

When Philadelphia refused, Lewis reportedly walked out of camp. From that point on things would never work out for Lewis, who represented himself as a 20 year-old kid, though he had signed a three-year, no cut contract Lewis would never play one minute in the league.

 

Former NBA players, college coaches and teammates participate in the Lewis documentary film!

Lorenzo Romar

 

Current Washington Husky head basketball coach and former NBA player Lorenzo Romar sat down with us to discuss his personal friendship with Lewis.

 

Romar goes into great detail to describe Lewis' awesome basketball talent of how he completely dominated the former NBA player in on-on-one games while he was with the Golden State Warriors. Romar also talks of his failed efforts to try and persuade Lewis to change his views of the NBA and conform to their way of doing things in order to improve his chances of playing in the league.

Michael Cooper

 

Former L.A. Laker and five-time NBA champion and current WNBA's Atlanta Dream's head basketball coach Michael Cooper was a great interview for the Lewis documentary film. Cooper vividly recalled his days as a youth playing against Raymond Lewis and what the sport meant to inner city kids during those days.

 

Coop also candidly recalled the time when he meet Raymond Lewis in 1983, in a Summer Pro League game while a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. In the "talk-of-the-town" and much anticipated showdown, the defensive specialist was bombed by Lewis who scored 56 points on Cooper in only three quarters of play.

Jerry Tarkanian

 

One of our first Lewis documentary interviews was the legendary Jerry Tarkanian. Known to many in the basketball world as "Tark the Shark" Tarkanian, with 702 collegiate basketball wins over four decades as a head coach has sent over forty of his college players to the NBA.

 

In his 2006 novel Runnin Rebel, Tarkanian devoted nine pages of text to Raymond Lewis calling him "The Greatest Player I Ever Saw". Although now in failing health, “Tark” was still able to attest to the greatness of Raymond Lewis.

Reggie Theus

 

Theus, a former 13-year NBA veteran and two-time all-star sat down with us to talk about Raymond and what it was like for teens growing up in his era. Currently the men's head basketball coach at Cal State Northridge, Theus continues to mentor and teach student-athletes.

 

He was full of wisdom and insight - not only about the game of basketball, but also about the game of life. He grew up admiring Lewis and then went on to make a significant mark on the sport himself – just like many of those we have talked to.

Sonny Vaccaro

 

Probably best known for his tenure with Nike Inc. and the man solely responsible for Nike signing Michael Jordan to his first sneaker deal, Sonny Vaccaro, a longtime fan and friend of Raymond Lewis, sat down with us and give his candid views and stories about Raymond.

 

Needless-to-say, we were all surprised of just how well Sonny knew Raymond and how he personally tried to help Lewis garner a professional career. Vaccaro's Dapper Dan Roundball Classics and other basketball tournaments over the years have featured hundreds of elite high school athletes which have produced numerous NBA pros along with current and future Hall-of-Famers.

Gene Shue

 

One of the most anticipated interviews of the film. Many including our film crew were delighted and anxious to hear Gene Shue's version of what happened at the Sixer camp in 1973, while he was the head coach in Philadelphia.

 

Shue provided us with his straightforward recollection of his personal experience with Raymond, as well as, what took place at the rookie camp that year and why Raymond Lewis never played in the NBA.

Caldwell Black 

 

Known as the "basketball guru" and the "John Wooden of Watts", Caldwell Black for decades has been both a mentor and basketball coach to many athletes over the years. 

 

As the Director of Youth Services and coach at Drew middle school, Black formed a basketball league at the school which kept troubled youth off the streets. Caldwell Black for decades was a staple and father-figure for many of the youth in which he coached on the basketball court. In the film, Black not only talks about Raymond the basketball player, but Raymond the person as well, and some of the trials and tribulations Lewis often faced.

Adrian Chivers

 

Currently a minister in Los Angeles, Adrian Chivers has the distinction of being the only person to play every game from Verbum Dei to Cal State L.A. with Raymond Lewis. 

 

In the interview, Chivers talks about his life-long friendship with Lewis and what it was like during the Verbum Dei and Cal State L.A. years while living in Watts. He also touches on the underhanded going-ons and what the Black athlete had to endure doing his collegiate stay.

Dwight Slaughter

 

One of a handful of people who knew Raymond Lewis intimately from his early childhood days in the Watts youth leagues until his passing in 2001.

 

Slaughter, the father of 6 foot-9 inch Marcus Slaughter, who plays professional  basketball in the European league, was also a teammate of Raymond Lewis and a star player in his own right, gives a candid interview of what it was like hanging out and playing with Lewis during the Verbum Dei years.

Eddie Williams

 

Former Verbum Dei and UC Riverside basketball standout Eddie Williams was a long-time friend of not only Raymond Lewis, but Lewis website and documentary co-producer Dean Prator.

 

Unknowingly, Williams was the inspiration for the creation of this website, as well as,

the documentary film. In the film interview he tells the viewers what we have been talking about for years which were the great basketball skills of Raymond Lewis.

Michael Pyles

 

Pyles credits Raymond Lewis for helping him develop into an outstanding player at Verbum Dei. He along with Eddie Williams, who both became teammates at UC Riverside, help lead Verbum Dei to its fifth consecutive CIF Southern Section Championship posting a 29-2 winning record.

 

In the film interview, Pyles reflects on his playing days at Verbum Dei often rendering thoughtful opinion of the Lewis saga while offering insightful wisdom to up-and-coming athletes in general.

Biff Burrell

 

An all "CIF" first-team basketball player from Compton High School, Biff Burrell in 1971, was considered one of the finest high school guards in Southern California. Burrell went on to be a standout guard at USC and is currently the operator and owner of Gym Ratt in North Carolina which trains boys and girls on the fundamentals of basketball.

 

Burrell sat down with us and talk about his personal matchups while playing against Raymond, as well as, giving advice to future athletes on how to avoid the pitfalls which often face many youths.

Bob Miller

 

From 1969 through the 1974-75 season Bob Miller was the Cal State L.A. Diablos (L.A. State until 1972) men's head basketball coach. In 1971, Miller was involved in the controversial recruitment and signing of Raymond Lewis who had all but enrolled at Long Beach State, before changing his mind at the last second to attended L.A. State.

 

In the interview, Miller expresses his fondness of Lewis and discusses his recruitment efforts that snared Lewis from his friend and basketball rival Jerry Tarkanian. 

Steve Lebring

 

Former Cal State L.A. and teammate of Raymond Lewis Steve Lebring surprised us by bringing a treasure trove of Lewis articles he had accumulated some 40-years ago to the interview.

 

Lebring shared with us what it was like playing with Lewis and the culture shock during his first time traveling through Watts, CA. We really got sense of what it was like for a prep basketball player from upper-middle class suburbia with a solid academic background to attempt bonding with an entire group of individuals from a different world.

Reggie Morris Sr.

 

Former Manual Arts and Southwest Community College head basketball coach Reggie Morris is one of the finest coaches in Southern California. At the helm, he coached the 1988, Manual Arts senior high school to a State Championship. He then spent 16 seasons as the Southwest and three at L.A. City College. In 2013, Morris was inducted into the California Community College Hall of Fame.

 

He talked with us about Raymond who he's followed since Lewis a junior in high school. "I remember the first time I saw Raymond, I came back and was telling my friends I don't know how you could be that good that early. You'd have to be practicing hours and hours from the time you were 3-years-old." Morris also talked about inner city youth and the reality of playing professional basketball.

Michael Lewis

 

Former AAU basketball coach who's first-hand knowledge of the game has helped such notable NBA talent as Baron Davis, Paul Pierce among others who have made it into the NBA.

 

Lewis, the first cousin of Raymond Lewis sat down with us to talk about the good-ole-days and what it was like growing up with Raymond from the early years until adulthood. 

Jay Young

 

As the head basketball coach of Warren High School in the early 70s, head coach Jay Young faced the Verbum Dei Eagles several times in his coaching career. 

 

Warren a great team which featured 6-Foot 8-inch, 280 pound Dave Baker (a man amongst boys) that matched up well with Verbum Dei. In fact, during 1971, CIF quarterfinals, Warren took Verbum Dei into two overtimes before eventually losing 56-49 to the Eagles. Jay talks about that classic game in the interview.

Randy Echols

 

In a stirring interview, Echols recounted the days of his youth playing basketball at the “Verb,” Arizona and Cal State L.A., in the early 70’s, as well as, disclosing personal details about his off-the-court friendship with Lewis.
 

More importantly, Echols had a chance to go into great detail addressing a major concern that has often plagued him over the past four decades, the quality education or lack thereof of many college student-athletes.

Billy Jones

 

We were fortunate enough to interview former Maryland Terrapin and UC Santa Barbara basketball coach Billy Jones. In 1964, Jones became the first African-American to play basketball in the ACC.

 

He would later coach the freshman team at UC Santa Barbara that played Cal State L.A. during Lewis' freshman year, a game that saw Raymond set a conference single-game scoring record. In the contest, Jones recounted that Lewis, who was a little late getting to the game quickly laced up his shoes during an immediate timeout, rush onto the court and hit a 35-foot corner jumper. Jones stated, "At that point, I knew we were in trouble." And he was right, Lewis went on to make 30 out of 40 field goals and 13 free-throws to tally 73-points in a game and time where three-point range shots only counted as two.

Dr. Harry Edwards
 

Dr. Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and civil rights activist, took time out from his busy schedule on set to discuss the turbulent times of the 1960s which led professional Black athletes to seek social change and recognition through their respective sport.

He also talked about Raymond Lewis whom he had known of since Lewis' college days at Cal State L.A. while psychoanalyzing several determining factors in which he felt caused Lewis to leave the Sixer camp in an effort to chase a dream and get rewarded with what he thought he was worth. 
 

Furthermore... Dr. Edwards rendered his professional advice to the youth of today if somehow they found themselves in a similar situation and what he would have suggested to a young Raymond Lewis back in 1973 after he already signed a contract with the 76ers. 

Raymond Lewis documentary interview photos taken at various shooting locations.

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