Willis Reed Wiki – Bio
Willis Reed, the two-time NBA Finals MVP with the New York Knicks, died at the age of 80. The news was first reported by longtime basketball columnist Peter Vecsey, who added that Reed “suffered from congestive heart problems.”
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. Among many other things, Reed was considered the great captain of the New York Knicks who won the franchise’s only two titles in 1970 and 1973.
Willis Reed was 80 years old.
Figure of Willis Reed emerged as the great leader
There were extraordinary players on the Knicks at the time, with the group playing in three Finals in four years, losing only the 1972 Finals to the Lakers, who have gone down in history, like Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe. and Phil Jackson.
But among all of them, the figure of Willis Reed emerged as the great leader of an extraordinary group of players who gave the Knicks their greatest moments of glory.
In that time, Reed collected, among other awards, two NBA titles, an MVP trophy, two Finals MVPs, seven All-Star Game appearances, five All-League Team selections, an All-Defensive Five and the Rookie of the Year award.
However, in 1970 he experienced one of the best moments in history, not only in the Finals, but in the entire NBA. The Finals went to a tied Game 7 after three wins for the Knicks and three for the Lakers.
Reed ran into Chamerlain’s wall and injured his leg
The Los Angeles Lakers relied on Wilt Chamberlain’s superhuman strength, while the Knicks, led by Red Holzman, relied on Reed’s game. But misfortune struck the New Yorkers when, in Game 5, Reed ran into Chamerlain’s wall and injured his leg. The Knicks won that game, but lost Game 6 handily in Los Angeles without their leader.
Going into the seventh and deciding game, the big question in the Big Apple was whether Reed could play. It was the same for the Lakers with Jerry West. In the end, when the New York fans watched their captain emerge from the tunnel to warm up, the atmosphere inside Madison Square Garden was electric.
He scored the Knicks’ first two points and, even with a weak knee, was able to stop Wilt, whom he left well below his best. When Reed left the game, exhausted, the Knicks already led 61-37 and ended up winning 113-99.
Reed, the best player for the Knicks that season with an average of 21 points and 14 rebounds, was voted MVP of those Finals and left one of the golden memories in NBA history. For that and for an extraordinary career, Hall of Famer Reed was also named to the 50th Anniversary Team in 1997 and the 75th Anniversary Team in 2022.