Knicks legend Willis Reed dead at 80, NBA community mourns his loss

Willis Reed, New York Knicks
Feb. 1970; New York, NY, USA; FILE PHOTO; New York Knicks center Willis Reed (19) in action at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

Willis Reed, the captain of the New York Knicks championship teams in the 70s, died Tuesday.

The cause of his death hasn’t been announced, but retired NBA columnist and Hall of Famer Peter Vecsey said on Twitter that Reed, 80, “suffered congestive heart problems over the past year or so and was going through rehab to walk.”

Reed entered the pantheon of greatness when he limped out of Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals and inspired the Knicks to an improbable win over the Los Angeles Lakers for their first championship.

He also won his only regular-season MVP that year and his first of two NBA Finals MVPs, completing a grand slam as he was also named the 1970 All-Star MVP.

Named among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history and the 75th Anniversary team, Reed played 10 seasons in the league, all with the Knicks. He was a seven-time All-Star and won Rookie of the Year in 1965.

Reed owns the distinction as the first Knicks player to have his number retired. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

The NBA community mourned the loss of a legend.

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