Seven-time NBA All-Star, Willis Reed passed away on 21st March 2023 at the age of 80. The cause of his death has not been released yet but it is known that Reed had been in poor health recently.
Willis Reed was considered one of the greatest players in NBA history and was widely regarded as one of the greatest Knicks of all time.
Who was Willis Reed?
Willis Reed was a retired American professional basketball player who was best known for his time with the New York Knicks during the 1960s and 1970s. He was born on June 25, 1942, in Bernice, Louisiana.
Reed played college basketball at Grambling State University, where he was a two-time All-American. He was then selected by the New York Knicks with the eighth overall pick in the 1964 NBA draft.
Reed played for the Knicks from 1964 to 1974 and was the team’s captain during their successful run in the early 1970s. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and helped lead the Knicks to two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.
Reed was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982 and his number 19 was retired by the Knicks in 1976. After his playing career, he went on to coach the Knicks and several other NBA teams.
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Willis Reed’s Cause of Death
Willis Reed’s death was announced by the National Basketball Retired Players Association, after confirming the news with his family.
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
The cause of his death was not released. However, Bill Bradley, Reed’s former teammate, and a former U.S. senator told The New York Times that Reed had congestive heart issues and had been undergoing treatment at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.
Due to his poor health, he was unable to travel to New York in February when the Knicks honored the 50th anniversary of their 1973 championship team.
In a tweet, the Knicks posted a photograph picturing Reed from behind walking onto the floor as his teammates were warming up for the 1970 finale, one of the most memorable moments in NBA and Madison Square Garden history.
Our Captain. pic.twitter.com/2Bg1ro4y37
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 21, 2023
The tweet wrote, “deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved captain,” adding, “We will always strive to uphold the standards he left behind — the unmatched leadership, sacrifice, and work ethic that personified him as a champion among champions. His is a legacy that will live forever.”
Nicknamed “The Captain”, Reed was known for his exceptional toughness and leadership on the court. He famously played through a serious injury during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, inspiring his team to victory.