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HomeNewsWillis Reed, Knicks Hall of Fame center, dies at 80

Willis Reed, Knicks Hall of Fame center, dies at 80


Willis Reed, who dramatically emerged from the locker room minutes before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals to propel the New York Knicks to their first championship and create one of sports’ most enduring examples of playing through pain, died Tuesday. He was 80 years old.

Reed’s death was announced by the National Basketball Retired Players Association, which confirmed it through his family. The cause was not disclosed, but Reed had recently had health problems and was unable to travel to New York when the Knicks celebrated the 50th anniversary of their 1973 NBA champion team during their game against New Orleans on February 25.

Nicknamed “El Capitan,” Reed was the small center and emotional leader of the Knicks’ two NBA championship teams, with a soft shooting touch from the outside and a toughness to take on the big superstars of the day in the field. inside.

His accomplishments — seven All-Star selections, two NBA Finals MVP awards among them — would have warranted Hall of Fame induction on their own. During the 1969-70 season, he became the first player to sweep the regular season, All-Star Game, and NBA Finals MVP awards.

But his place in history was secured simply by walking onto the court on the final night of that season.

Reed had strained a thigh muscle in Game 5 of the series between the Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, and fell to the court in pain. He sat out Game 6 as his counterpart Wilt Chamberlain had 45 points and 27 rebounds in a game-deciding Lakers loss at Madison Square Garden.

Reed’s condition was unknown even to his Knicks teammates, as he continued to receive treatment until shortly before Game 7. Both teams were warming up when Reed came out of the tunnel, fans rose and roared when they saw him come out of the tunnel. which led to the locker room. .

“And here comes Willis and the crowd is going crazy,” said radio host Marv Albert.

Willis Reed, affected by a thigh injury, enters Game 7 of the NBA Finals and helps the New York Knicks win the title over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers stopped to watch Reed, who then made two quick jump shots in the game’s opening minutes, running down the court after both with a noticeable limp. He wouldn’t score again, but the Knicks didn’t need him, with the return of their captain and Walt Frazier’s 36 points and 19 assists fueling them for a 113-99 win and their first NBA title.

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.

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