Knicks legend Willis Reed, who inspired Knicks fans for generations, passed away today.
Willis Reed, who played center for the New York Knicks and won Finals MVP twice with New York in the 1970 and 1973 championships, passed away on Tuesday. He was 80 years old.
Reed, famed for his gritty playing style and his now famous entry into a decisive Game 7 at Madison Square Garden against the Los Angeles Lakers after tearing his right tensor muscle, had been a mainstay at the Mecca for decades after his run with New York in the 1970s. He was constantly present for anniversaries, celebrations of fellow teammates from those teams, and was affectionately known, and feared, as The Captain for the Knicks back in his playing days. Reed was also among those named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary teams, alongside teammate and fellow champion Walt Frazier.
In a statement after news of his passing was shared this afternoon, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of Reed that he was, “the ultimate team player and consummate leader.”
“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,” added Silver.
Reed was absent last month during the Knicks’ celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1973 championship run, but had shared a video message to be played during the ceremony, saying,“I just want to say that I’m so proud I was a member of the championship team in the best city in the world with the best fans in the world.”