Knicks legend Willis Reed dies — dead at 80
The NBA community is mourning the loss of an all-time great this week.
Veteran basketball writer Peter Vecsey reported that New York Knicks legend Willis Reed died on Tuesday morning at the age of 80. Vecsey says that Reed had been suffering from congestive heart problems over the last year or so.
Just received word that Willis Reed, 80, passed this morning. He has suffered from congestive heart problems over the past year or so, and was going through rehab to walk. Loved everything about Willis! A man’s man!!
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) March 21, 2023
The National Basketball Retired Players Association confirmed the news of Reed’s passing as well.
The basketball community has lost a Legend. Our hearts are with the family, friends and fans of Willis Reed.#LegendsForever pic.twitter.com/AindMB0OGb
— NBA Alumni 🏀 (@NBAalumni) March 21, 2023
Reed played his entire ten-year NBA career from 1964-74 with the New York Knicks. He was a seven-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection at the center position. Reed also was a two-time champion and a two-time Finals MVP, best remembered for the iconic moment in Game 7 of the 1970 Finals where he played on a torn thigh muscle and scored the first two baskets of the game for the Knicks, sparking them to victory over the L.A. Lakers.
After retiring as a player in 1974, Reed had head coaching stints with the Knicks, the then-New Jersey Nets, and Creighton University. He went on to become an executive for the Nets too, helping lead them to Finals berths in 2002 and 2003 as their senior vice president of basketball operations.
Reed was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982 and was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. He recently made a video appearance at a reunion event for the Knicks less than a month ago.