Willis Reed dies at 80

The Hall of Famer and former New York Knicks’ legend passed this morning by unreleased causes

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The NBA lost today (21) one of its legends. Willis Reed died this morning. He was 80. The news of his death was announced by the National Basketball Retired Players Association and confirmed by his family. The New York Knicks, the team for which he played for his entire 11-year career, also released a statement about his passing.

While the cause of the death was not officially revealed, it was public knowledge that Reed’s health conditions were not good. That was made clear when he couldn’t attend the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Knicks’ 1973 NBA Championship, in February. The celebration happened during a game versus the New Orleans Pelicans, in New York.

“The Captain”, as he was known in the NBA world, won the NBA title two times (1970 and 1973), and was elected the NBA Finals MVP on both opportunities. He was also the regular season MVP in 1970, got selected seven times to the NBA All-Star Game and his jersey number (19) was retired by the New York Knicks.

1973 NBA Finals

Willis Reed had a great career, no question. But his prime moment happened hands down during the NBA Finals in 1973. The reason? He walked off the locker room and entered the court on Game 7. Okay, let’s give a little bit more context.

During Game 5 of the 1973 NBA Finals, between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers, Reed injured his thigh. After that he misses Game 6 and saw Wilt Chamberlain shined for the Lakers, forcing the final game.

Then, in Game 7, history was made. Not even Reed’s teammates knew his status for the game but everybody believed he would sit out. Then, during the warmups, radio announcer Marv Albert noticed something. “And here comes Willis and the crow goes wild”.

Reed played through his pain and helped the Knicks to win the game, the trophy and the ring. He scored a few points in the game, but just his presence made the team play better. Waltz Frazier scored 36 points and 19 assists as the Knicks beat the Lakers 113-99 on Game 7.

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