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Sunday 16 June, 2024
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Willis Reed dead at 80: Cause of Death

BY Salman Ahmed Mar 22, 2023. 02:31 am UPDATED: Mar 22, 2023. 02:32 am

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Willis Reed, a former New York Knicks player, has passed away at the age of 80.

With the Knicks for the entirety of his ten-year NBA career, Reed earned the moniker “The Captain” and contributed to two titles for New York.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has confirmed Reed passed away on Tuesday.

“Wilis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader,” Silver wrote in a statement.

“My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks’ championship teams in the early 1970s.

“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.

“As a league MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, Willis was a decorated player who took great pride in his consistency.

“Following his playing career, Willis mentored the next generation as a coach, team executive, and proud HBCU alumnus.

“We send our deepest condolences to Willis’ wife, Gait, his family, and his many friends and fans.”

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The Knicks drafted Reed with the No. 8 overall pick in 1964.

The centre guided New York to their final two NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.

The former followed his winning of his first and only MVP award; during the regular season, he averaged 21.7 points and 13.9 rebounds.

It also solidified his legacy as a Knick.

In the 1970 NBA Finals, New York played against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Due to a muscular injury, Reed was forced to miss Game 6 of the series, which the Lakers won 135-113 to square the series at 3-3.

But despite concerns about his health, the centre entered Madison Square Garden’s court for Game 7 to thunderous cheers, creating one of the most memorable moments in the legendary arena’s history.

Reed finished with four points and three rebounds, but even with their star player on the court, the Knicks were able to defeat the star-studded Los Angeles club.

After losing the series opener, New York won four straight games to upset the Lakers in the NBA Finals three years later.

He finished the postseason with an NBA Finals MVP award, same as in 1970.

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The Louisiana native’s No. 19 became the team’s first number to be retired after his career came to an end in 1974, and he was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Before taking over at Creighton in 1981, Reed first spent two seasons as the Knicks’ head coach, from 1977 to 1978.

He managed the then-New Jersey Nets for a brief period of time as an NBA head coach in 1988 before taking over as the team’s general manager and president of basketball operations the following year.

He was hired in 2004 as the New Orleans Hornets’ vice president of basketball operations, a job he maintained for three years.

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