A hobbling Willis Reed inspiring the New York Knicks to an incredible Game 7 win for their first NBA championship in 1970 is undoubtedly the greatest moment in franchise history.
Owning a piece of that iconic moment would be priceless for a die-hard Knicks fan.
The warm-up jacket that Reed has worn before that game and during the postgame celebration is up for grabs at Grey Flannel Auctions. The jacket’s authenticity has been guaranteed after being photo-matched to his post-game interview with ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell.
The white jacket featuring the classic Knicks’ interlocking “NY” logo was made by Gerry Cosby and Co., an institution for Knicks & New York Rangers apparel. It also has a customized, embroidered ‘Reed’ patch signifying it belongs to the former Knicks captain.
According to Grey Flannel Auctions, the jacket originally came from a car dealership employee who made a trade with a Madison Square Garden employee who likely traded a car for the jacket.
In December 2009, Grey Flannel Auctions sold a game-worn Reed jersey during the 1973-74 season for $39,000. Reed’s warm-up jacket is expected to fetch more than that, given the event’s historical significance.
“This one will blow that price away,” Sam Heller, a representative from Grey Flannel Auctions, told Empire Sports Media.
The Knicks went into the Game 7 uncertain whether Reed would play after tearing a muscle in his right thigh in the fourth quarter of Game 5. The Knicks survived in Game 5 but was outmatched in Game 6.
The packed Madison Square Garden went into a frenzy when Reed emerged wearing the warm-up jacket from the tunnel. Reed hit two jump shots against Wilt Chamberlain and never scored again. But his presence was enough to inspire the Knicks, who led by as many as 29 points in the first half, to nail their first NBA title with a 113-99 victory at the expense of their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reed was honored as one of the 50 greatest NBA players in 1996. He was later honored again as part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team. He won two championships with the Knicks and was the Finals MVP in both series. He also won the regular-season MVP in 1970.
As of posting time, the current bid for Reed’s iconic warm-up jacket is $16,106. The bidding will close on June 4.