New York Knicks legend Willis Reed passed away

2023-03-21T22:04:04+00:00 2023-03-21T23:15:54+00:00.

Aris Barkas

21/Mar/23 22:04
willis reed

The two-time NBA champion with the Knicks, Willis Reed, has died at the age of 80

By Eurohoops team/

Willis Reed, the legendary captain of the New York Knicks who won two championships and created one of the most iconic moments in NBA history, has died at 80 years of age.

“The Knicks organization is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Captain, Willis Reed,” the Knicks said in a press release. “As we mourn, we will always strive to uphold the standards he left behind — the unmatched leadership, sacrifice, and work ethic that personified him as a champion among champions. His is a legacy that will live forever. We ask everyone to please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader. My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks championship teams in the early 1970s,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of the sports.”

“The NBPA is mourning the passing of our brother, Willis Reed. Willis will always be a legend of our game, leaving an incredible legacy of achievement as the backbone and Captain of the New York Knicks during his 10-year playing career”, the NBA players union announced via a press release. “While his contributions on the court generated great success on an individual and team basis, his work ethic, commitment, and dedication to his craft were a model for future generations of players. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. We send our condolences to Willis’ family, friends, and the entire Knicks organization during this time.”

Reed was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1964 and its Most Valuable Player in 1970, as well as a seven-time All-Star and a five-time All-NBA selection during a 10-year career. He was also a member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th-anniversary teams.

His most memorable moment come on the 8th of May, 1970, when in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, while injured he appeared in the Madison Square Garden. He stunned everyone, nobody expected his presence, scored the first two baskets of the game, and played for 27 minutes. He didn’t score again but his presence and the performance of fellow Hall of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier who had 36 points and 19 assists gave to New York its first NBA title by beating the Lakers.

Reed was named Finals MVP for that series, and then, after the Knicks lost to the Lakers in five games in 1972, led New York to a second title. He won a second Finals MVP award as the Knicks got revenge on the Lakers in five games in 1973. He would retire after the 1973-74 season.

He also coached the Knicks, Creighton University, and the Nets and then became the Nets‘ GM, acquiring Drazen Petrovic among others. He left the Nets as the senior vice president of basketball operations and then became the vice president of basketball operations with the New Orleans Hornets in 2004. He retired from that position in 2007.