Willis Reed Obituary

Willis Reed, the beloved basketball legend, passed away on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at the age of 80. A native of Hico, Louisiana, Reed made an indelible mark on the sport of basketball, both on and off the court.

The basketball world was saddened to learn of Willis Reed’s passing, which was announced by the National Basketball Retired Players Association, with confirmation from his family. Then in 2018, Reed underwent surgery after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

Reed’s death was confirmed by his former colleague Bill Bradley, a former US senator who stated Reed suffered congestive heart failure. It was unclear where Reed died, but he had been receiving treatment at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, according to Bradley. The NBA Hall of Famer had been in poor health recently and was unable to attend the New York Knicks’ celebration of the 50th anniversary of their 1973 NBA championship team in February.

In response to the news of Reed’s passing, the Knicks tweeted a photograph that captured the iconic moment from the 1970 NBA Finals where Reed limped onto the court during warmups and led the Knicks to victory in Game 7. It remains one of the most memorable moments in NBA and Madison Square Garden history.

The Knicks organization released a statement in honor of Reed’s legacy, stating that they will always strive to uphold the unmatched leadership, sacrifice, and work ethic that he personified as a champion among champions. Reed’s impact on the sport of basketball and on the Knicks organization will be felt for generations to come, and his legacy will live on forever.

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The Man, Reed

Reed was a towering figure in the world of basketball, standing at an impressive 6 feet 9 inches tall. He first rose to prominence in the 1960s as a star player for the Grambling State Tigers, where he was a two-time All-American and helped lead the team to three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.

But it was Reed’s career in the NBA that truly cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time. He was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1964 and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with.

Over the course of his 10-year career with the Knicks, Reed helped lead the team to two NBA championships, earning MVP honors in both series. His iconic performance in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, where he played through injury to lead the Knicks to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, remains one of the most memorable moments in NBA history.

Off the court, Reed was known for his humility, grace, and commitment to giving back to the community. He was a tireless advocate for education and youth development, and he established several charitable foundations to support those causes.

Reed’s impact on the sport of basketball was immeasurable, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations of players and fans for years to come. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the entire basketball community.

His notable accomplishments

  • Two-time NBA Champion with the New York Knicks (1970, 1973)
  • NBA Finals MVP in both championship series (1970, 1973)
  • Seven-time NBA All-Star (1965-1971)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1970)
  • Two-time NBA rebounding leader (1969, 1970)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (1965)
  • Two-time NCAA Division II All-American at Grambling State University (1962, 1963)
  • Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1982)
  • Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)
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Most iconic moments

Willis Reed’s most iconic moment in NBA history was his heroic performance in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. Reed had suffered a serious leg injury in Game 5 of the series and was not expected to play in Game 7.

However, with the Knicks facing elimination, Reed hobbled onto the court during warmups to the amazement of the Madison Square Garden crowd. Despite being in obvious pain and barely able to move, Reed started the game and scored the first two baskets of the game for the Knicks.

His presence on the court inspired his teammates and helped lead the Knicks to a 113-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, clinching the franchise’s first-ever NBA championship.

Reed’s courageous performance in Game 7 is widely regarded as one of the greatest moments in NBA history and is a testament to his toughness, leadership, and determination.

From family and everyone, RIP

Willis Reed was married to his wife, Gale, for over 50 years, and the couple had two children together, a son named Willis Jr. and a daughter named Lisa. Willis Jr. also played basketball at Grambling State University like his father, and later had a brief career in the NBA.

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In addition to his immediate family, Reed had a close-knit circle of friends and colleagues in the basketball community, who often spoke of him as a mentor and role model. His impact on the lives of those around him was evident in the outpouring of tributes and condolences that followed his passing.

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