The Mercury News
Hall of Famer, Knicks legend Reed dies at 80
Hall of Fame center Willis Reed, who led the New York Knicks to two NBA championships, died Tuesday. He was 80.
The cause of death was not released, but Reed had been in poor health recently.
Nicknamed “The Captain,” Reed was the emotional leader on the Knicks' two championship teams in 1970 and 1973.
In 1969-70, the seventime All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP became the first player to sweep the MVP awards for the regular season, All-Star Game and NBA Finals.
Reed was limited to just 11 games in 1971-72 but came back strong the next season to spark the Knicks to a second title in what was his last full season.
He played only 19 games in 1973-74 before retiring because of a knee injury after just 10 seasons.
That was long enough to collect 12,183 points and 8,414 rebounds over 650 regular-season games. He had 1,358 points and 801 rebounds in 78 postseason games.
A second-round pick out of Grambling State in 1964, he quickly proved that standing only 6-foot-9 wouldn't keep him from becoming one of the NBA's top centers. He was voted Rookie of the Year.
Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game for his career.
His No. 19 was the first number retired by the Knicks and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1982.
Reed went on to coach the Knicks to a playoff berth in 1977-78. He also was a head coach at Creighton and the New Jersey Nets, with whom he was later a front office executive.
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