15.2 C
Saturday, June 3, 2023
HomeNewsReed, Knicks legend, dies at 80

Reed, Knicks legend, dies at 80


willis reed, the legendary captain and star center of the New York Knicks who led the franchise to its only two championships and was the author of one of the iconic moments in NBA history, has died. He was 80 years old.

“The Knicks organization is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Captain, Willis Reed,” the Knicks said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “While we mourn, we will always strive to uphold the standards he left behind: the unmatched leadership, sacrifice and work ethic that epitomized him as a champion among champions.

“Yours is a legacy that will live on forever. We ask everyone to respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time.”

A burly, physical presence at the post throughout his 10 years in the NBA, all with the Knicks, he was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1965 and its MVP in 1970, as well as a seven-time All-Star. Star and five-time All-NBA selection. Eventually, he too was named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.

But his place in history was etched forever on May 8, 1970.

New York was ready to face wilt chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals that day at Madison Square Garden in hopes of winning the franchise’s first championship. Reed, who had missed Game 6 with a serious hamstring injury, was not expected to play.

But Reed stunned the crowd filling the world’s most famous stadium by emerging from the tunnel with radio host Marv Albert’s iconic “Here Comes Willis” call.

Reed then scored the first two baskets of the game, the only two he would score in 27 minutes of action. But the emotional boost he gave the Knicks, along with fellow Hall of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier scoring 36 points and dishing out a career-high 19 assists, gave New York its first NBA title. the NBA in what became known to history as “The Willis Reed Game.”

“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader. My earliest and best memories of NBA basketball are watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks championship teams early in the 1970s,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. in a sentence. “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 sports.”

Reed was named Finals MVP of 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 when the Knicks got revenge on the Lakers in five games in 1973.

Reed would retire after the 1973-74 season having spent his entire 10-year NBA career in New York, and would always be known simply as El Capitan for his leadership and commitment to teamwork.

Harvey Araton, the author of “When the Garden was Eden,” a book about the 1970s Knicks, said those values ​​were epitomized when, as part of the book’s reporting, he left Reed a copy of a video from Game 5 of the 1970 finals, one that Reed had told Araton, before seeing her with him, that he had never seen before.

“A few weeks later, an envelope shows up at my house with a note attached to the video saying Willis: ‘Thank you for the video. Our greatest victory’.

“It’s unbelievable, for a guy who was the MVP of two NBA Finals and a Hall of Famer, to say that the team’s biggest win was accomplished without him. That pretty much summed up who he was. It was totally about the team. That manifested itself in so many ways. Just those three words, ‘our greatest victory,’ blew me away.”

Reed’s No. 19 became the Knicks’ first retired in 1976, and he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1982. He then served as the Knicks’ head coach for just over a year, and then he spent four years as a head coach at Creighton University, before working for more than a decade in the front office of the then-New Jersey Nets, first as general manager and then as senior vice president of basketball operations.

“What I remember about Willis is that he always had a blue marker everywhere he went, and he always had a stack of pictures from when he played for the Knicks,” said ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who spent several years working for Reed when he was a Nets executive. “And he went out of his way, whether it was those photos or a basketball, he would never turn anyone away. It’s a lasting memory that I always think about, giving back to the less fortunate.”

Reed also worked as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks from 1985 to 1987, when current 76ers coach Doc Rivers played point guard for the team.

“I loved this man… He was my assistant coach when I was playing with the Hawks,” Rivers he said in a tweet. “He Was Just A Great Person, A Man!!! A Leader!!! A Winner!!!”

Reed was born on June 25, 1942 in Dubach, Louisiana. After playing high school baseball in Lillie, Louisiana, he starred at Grambling State University from 1960 to 1964, averaging over 26 points and 21 rebounds as a senior, before New York selected him in the second round of the draft. of the 1964 NBA.

He would finish his career with averages of 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories