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NFT: RIP Willis Reed

DanMetroMan : 3/21/2023 2:22 pm
Ugh. Awful. True legend. 80 years old.
BillT : 3/21/2023 2:24 pm : link
He was great.
PatersonPlank : 3/21/2023 2:24 pm : link
Seriously, one of the greatest NY Sports moment of all time. Reed limps onto the court for game 7 to battle Chamberlain and shooting up everything in the medicine back.

AcidTest : 3/21/2023 2:26 pm : link
absolute legend. RIP. God bless. Prayers to his family and friends.
Number 19  
Chip : 3/21/2023 2:27 pm : link
Derek Barnet, Bill Bradley, Dave Debus. can't spell it. Walt Frazier. Earl the Pearl came over from Washington. That is when I watched basketball and loved it. I don't like the NBA now nothing but travelling and palming the ball which back in the day was called.
noro9 : 3/21/2023 2:32 pm : link
Boyhood hero. One of the greats
one of my childhood heroes  
Dr. D : 3/21/2023 2:33 pm : link
along with Tom Seaver and Clyde. Hope we can keep Clyde around for a while.
Why is it not possible  
ElitoCanton : 3/21/2023 2:33 pm : link
to appreciate past greatness without denigrating today's athletes.
Definite boy hood hero  
Earl the goat : 3/21/2023 2:33 pm : link
So very sad

69 and 73 Knicks Not to many left
Walking out  
Joe Beckwith : 3/21/2023 2:43 pm : link
from the locker room……was the second think I thought of when I saw this thread.
It’s married to his name.
Oh wow  
Spider43 : 3/21/2023 2:51 pm : link
What a loss, R.I.P., The Captain.
he was way before  
Enzo : 3/21/2023 2:52 pm : link
my time as a fan. Probably underrated as a player by the younger generations since game 7 vs the Lakers is the go-to highlight for him - yet he was MVP of the whole league in 1970.
RIP to a huge part of NY sports history  
Mad Mike : 3/21/2023 3:02 pm : link
Always a class act...  
dannysection 313 : 3/21/2023 3:02 pm : link
Truly a Knick great; the Captain # 19...

Played center at "only" 6'9''.

I remember reading about a playoff game where he had 36 points.....and 36 rebounds. Wow...
Met him at LGA many years ago...  
mvftw : 3/21/2023 3:03 pm : link
Very Polite..Good Man!
Rolyrock : 3/21/2023 3:05 pm : link
The captain of those great Knicks.
Piranah In NC : 3/21/2023 3:06 pm : link
His game. I can still see him stuffing that Medallion he wore around his neck back into his jersey at the free throw line.I am Stunned. He was a great piece of my youth. I emulated his Pump fakes on the playground against opponents. AND IT WORKED !! Like Derek Jeter, YOU COULD TELL HE WAS THE CAPTAIN!! RIP Big Fella. If Only Randle had that Poise.
Everyone rightfully so talks about Game 7 in 1970  
Stu11 : 3/21/2023 3:07 pm : link
but one of my favorite stories was detailed in the book "When the Garden was Eden" by Harvey Araton (an absolute must read for any Knicks fan of that era), when He and Cazzie got into it at practice one time:

"By the fall 1969, Cazzie Russell, who had been a huge star at Michigan and the league’s top draft pick in 1966, had been displaced by Bradley in the starting lineup. Russell was the better athlete and more productive scorer, but Bradley was the better fit for the offense of Coach Red Holzman, which was predicated on movement and passing. Russell didn’t believe that. He thought, if Bradley wasn’t the better player, then what could be the reason that he was paid and played more?

In a country riven by social strife, it didn’t take long for the subtext of race to start ticking. Then came a pivotal moment in January of that championship season when Russell’s sense of victimhood was set off to the point where the team’s chemistry nearly exploded and burned.

The Knicks were practicing in Detroit when Russell burst into the gym in a foul, angry mood. Coming out of Ann Arbor, where he had been visiting his old school, he was pulled over by the police, ordered out of his car with a gun to his head. The explanation he was given after producing a license and being recognized as the famous former Michigan star was that an African-American man had broken out of prison in the area. Russell had a mustache and so, apparently, did the convict.

Russell’s teammates sympathized with him when he told them of how he had been profiled — at least until he began throwing sharp elbows around during a scrimmage, mostly in the direction of the team’s white players.

Reed, who often acted as Holzman’s cop on the court, recognized what was happening and stepped toward Russell, asking what the heck he thought he was doing. Before Russell could edit himself, he spat out, angrily and regrettably:

“Be quiet, Uncle Tom.”

Reed’s eyes widened and Russell later told a friend, “I thought he was going to kill me.” Those who knew what Reed was capable of when pushed to the edge, who had witnessed the bloody mess he had made of Rudy LaRusso and two Los Angeles Lakers teammates during a 1966 brawl at Madison Square Garden, knew that Russell’s fears were justified.

Reed grew up in Bernice, La., about a half-hour north of Grambling. A couple of summers ago, when I had the opportunity to visit the small town with him, he introduced me to old friends — black and white — in an effort to help me, a lifelong Northerner, understand that black folks had made the best of their lives there during the Jim Crow era. They always were mindful of the segregationist indignities, but Reed wanted me to know that his childhood had been happy.

He was fiercely proud of where he was from and how much he had achieved, including the captaincy of the Knicks. For Russell to have spoken to Reed in the way that he did in front of the team put Reed in an unimaginably difficult position, with precious seconds to react.

He told Russell, “This Uncle Tom is gonna be whippin’ some ass in a minute if you don’t keep quiet.”

In effect, if defending his teammates and being everyone’s captain — starters and scrubs, black and white — meant Reed was an Uncle Tom in Russell’s eyes, so be it.

Decades later in Louisiana, his explanation to me was short and to the point: “You can’t hurt one of our guys. You can’t hurt me.”

That is the definition of a captain and team leader! RIP Willis.
RIP to a great Knick and good man  
Matt M. : 3/21/2023 3:08 pm : link
I met him in the late 70s as a little kid without really understanding how great he was, along with some other Knicks. It was after the team was already in steep decline and they came to the beach club we went to. I had Knicks stickers with his autograph, Clyde, and some others, including a young Ernie Grunfeld. Somewhere along the line they got thrown out. Oh well.
RIP to The Captain  
LTIsTheGreatest : 3/21/2023 3:20 pm : link
1970 championship seems like yesterday  
PatersonPlank : 3/21/2023 3:21 pm : link
Game 5 Reed goes down
Game 6 the Lakers blow the Knicks out, no one can stop Chamberlain
Game 7, Reed limps on the court at the end of warm-ups (this was before social media so no one knew if he'd play). The Gardrn goes crazy and the Lakers look over in disbelief. Reed, on one leg, pushed Chamberlain away from the basket and hits his first 2 shots. Knicks blow them out.

Years later in a book, maybe Jerry Wests, he said that the game was over as soon as Reed limped on the court. The Lakers were psyched out and the Knicks player/fans were crazy pumped.
The. MAN.  
rnargi : 3/21/2023 3:26 pm : link
That is all.
The Knicks team  
HewlettGiant : 3/21/2023 3:27 pm : link
Actually those Knicks teams were my sports passion, I dare say even more than our Giants as I was a kid growing up in the city......Such vivid memories of him battling with the likes of Wes Unseld, Wilt, Bill Russell, Nate Thurmond etc......

A big part of my youth....although I no longer follow the NBA, I am glad that Clyde Frazier is still around and doing well.

all the heroes of my yoot dying off  
Victor in CT : 3/21/2023 3:28 pm : link
I remember 1973 vividly. he was shell of himself by then, big bulky knee brace. Sad.
One of the original Knicks for me from when I first became a fan  
steve in ky : 3/21/2023 3:39 pm : link
Class act
Willis was a NY Sports Hero  
arniefez : 3/21/2023 3:39 pm : link
I loved him even though I never met him. On and off the court he carried himself in a way that demanded respect and he radiated class and humility. I had a feeling he was sick when he wasn't able to come to NY for the 50th anniversary of the 73 Championship. This hurts. RIP to one of the best people/player ever to play in NY.
I sat next to him during a Nets game, and I asked him for his  
Sec 103 : 3/21/2023 3:40 pm : link
autograph after we spoke for a good 15 minutes going back to relive those magic moments as well as my basketball days in the garden with LaSalle Academy. He remembered our school and he did his best to entertain a then 50 year old man asking his boyhood idol for his autograph. It's one of my prized possessions along with Harry Carsons. A true NY Legend, those games against Lew Alcindor and the rest of the Lakers back in the day remain vivid in my memories. And his time conversing with me at Brendan Byrne made me feel like a schoolboy talking to his childhood hero. A truly great human being.
May be rest in peace
1972-1973 Team  
yalebowl : 3/21/2023 3:40 pm : link
Centers - Willis Reed, Jerry Lucas, John Gianelli

Forwards - Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley, Phil Jackson, Hawthorne Wingo

Guards - Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Dean Meminger, Henry Bibby, Dick Barnett

There were two others but not of note. All of the above appeared in commercials.
This One Hurts,  
clatterbuck : 3/21/2023 3:50 pm : link
R.I.P., Captain. Those first two fade-away jumpers after limping on to the court. One of the greatest moments in NY sports.
RIP to The Captain.  
shockeyisthebest8056 : 3/21/2023 3:51 pm : link
The only MVP the Knicks have ever had.
One of the 3 greatest Knicks ever  
Osi Osi Osi OyOyOy : 3/21/2023 3:56 pm : link
along with Frazier and Ewing. In terms of purely resume, he's probably got the best case for #1 although part of that is because the media didn't really feel comfortable with Frazier back in the day.

Those Holzman Knicks were so far ahead of their time. Beautiful passing and basically a small-ball team. Reed was more of a burly PF than a true Center, DeBusschere was a two-way stretch PF 40 years ahead of his time, and Frazier was more of a combo guard than a pure point. They played positionless basketball 40+ years before it was "cool".

Reed was such a boss. That video of him fighting the entire Lakers team is all you need to know about who he was. RIP.
Professor Falken : 3/21/2023 3:57 pm : link
always love to hear professional athletes talk in reverential terms decades later about the Captains from their playing days. The way Clyde talks about Willis, the way O'Neill talks about Mattingly.
There's an obit in the NY Times from Harvey Araton  
arniefez : 3/21/2023 4:01 pm : link
I don't cry much. It made me tear up.
Willis Reed, Hall of Fame Center for Champion Knicks, Dies at 80 - ( New Window )
RE: This One Hurts,  
Spider56 : 3/21/2023 4:06 pm : link
In comment 16071948 clatterbuck said:
R.I.P., Captain. Those first two fade-away jumpers after limping on to the court. One of the greatest moments in NY sports.

+1. I remember this as if it were yesterday. This team played the game as it was meant to be played. Unselfish, team and defense first, hit the open man… and the Captain was the man in the middle.
Tough one  
Giants86 : 3/21/2023 4:07 pm : link
Loved those Knicks teams!!
Wasn't born when Reed did his thing  
thedogfather : 3/21/2023 4:11 pm : link
but everyone knows what he did and what he meant. That footage of him walking out of the tunnel will be replayed forever until the of time!

RIP Captain
AG5686 : 3/21/2023 4:17 pm : link
Willis Reed,what can I say...the CAPTAIN of all captains.....I don't remember him as a player,but I do remeber him as the Knicks coach in 1977-78.My impressions of the man have been through the eyes and mouths of the guys who played with him.
The reverence and respect that Clyde,Dollar Bill and Phil Jackson all pay to him over the years in countless inteviews have painted the picture of a Warrior....a man who gave his all and expected the same of them.
RIP Willis
I was a teenager...  
Mike in St. Louis : 3/21/2023 4:28 pm : link
Game 7 - Willis Reed - ( New Window )
A few weeks ago NBA TV aired a Knicks/Bullets game  
bceagle05 : 3/21/2023 4:42 pm : link
from 1973 and I couldn't turn it off. So great to watch those guys in their primes for a couple of hours.
RE: Why is it not possible  
John Bravo : 3/21/2023 4:42 pm : link
In comment 16071886 ElitoCanton said:
to appreciate past greatness without denigrating today's athletes.

I get your point Eli. (love your handle)

I think he's denigrating todays game, not todays athlete. It is a much different game today than it was back then. The 3 point shot has a lot to do with it. So does the enhanced athleticism of today's player.

The biggest change, in my view, is the way the rules are interpretid and enforced. Or not enforced. Ainge got away with the palming. Michael and magic were granted multiple steps doenthe lane. Patrick had his crow hop. Bird also got away with a lot.

None of these rule infractions were enforced regularly. The NBA chose to become a cult of personality and that seems to have served them well. Many of us who watched the game being played at the highest level without the rules being enforced were turned off and disillusioned. I don't watch it at all. It's not the same sport that we grew up with.
Every word of that linked video is true  
arniefez : 3/21/2023 4:48 pm : link
1969-70 All Star Game MVP. Regular Season MVP. Finals MVP. One of the greatest seasons in NY Sports history. Mickey Mantle in 1956 stuff.
RIP Willis  
HomerJones45 : 3/21/2023 4:58 pm : link
great player.
We really lost a real gentleman  
PhilSimms15 : 3/21/2023 4:59 pm : link
Willis was not only a terrific ball player but he was classy, smart, and a true leader. He was The Captain for a reason.

We morn the loss of someone who delivered the only Knick championships.
And he lead the team to two titles! Willis was a boyhood hero and will be missed.
After Reed and those Knicks  
ColHowPepper : 3/21/2023 5:01 pm : link
under Red, and maybe a few more years under Pat, NBA has never been the same for me.

There are different criteria, of course, but for me he's a GOAT.

RIP, Captain
Burt in Alameda : 3/21/2023 5:39 pm : link
The first time I watched Willis Reed play was at the Olympic Trials in 1964 at St. Johns. He was the best player on the floor and it was clear to everyone that he would be a. great pro. I remember how happy I was when the Knicks drafted him and how I was not surprised that he outplayed Walt Bellemy.
RE: 1972-1973 Team  
bluefin : 3/21/2023 5:46 pm : link
In comment 16071943 yalebowl said:
Centers - Willis Reed, Jerry Lucas, John Gianelli

Forwards - Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley, Phil Jackson, Hawthorne Wingo

Guards - Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Dean Meminger, Henry Bibby, Dick Barnett

There were two others but not of note. All of the above appeared in commercials.

Seeing that squad as a kid is the reason I’ve loved the Knicks for life. So glad I have those memories.
That was the one era  
Bill in UT : 3/21/2023 6:08 pm : link
when I was truly a Knicks fan. I followed a little during some of the Ewing years, but that was it. RIP to a great player
RIP one of my favorite Knicks players over the many years I've been  
Ira : 3/21/2023 6:30 pm : link
rooting for them.
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 3/21/2023 6:43 pm : link
Before my time, but one of my old man's favorites. He's bummed.

Bummed indeed.  
Big Blue '56 : 3/21/2023 8:30 pm : link
I was there for the “Willis Reed” game. May 8th, 1970..Still have the stub

SomeFan : 3/21/2023 9:19 pm : link
Willis Reed. That Knicks era was great.
RE: That was the one era  
PatersonPlank : 3/21/2023 9:35 pm : link
In comment 16072057 Bill in UT said:
when I was truly a Knicks fan. I followed a little during some of the Ewing years, but that was it. RIP to a great player

Me too. Huge fan in the 70's, followed through the Ewing defensive battles. Haven't paid much attention since.
RIP Captain  
Rick in Dallas : 3/21/2023 9:45 pm : link
One of the great Knicks of all time
For this Knicks fan, he was the GOAT  
CT Charlie : 3/21/2023 10:04 pm : link
of character.
If I recall correctly, Bill Bradley concluded his memoir of the NBA,  
CT Charlie : 3/21/2023 10:14 pm : link
"Life on the Run," with an image of Willis on an Indian reservation. Far from the hero-worshipping pandemonium of Madison Square Garden, Willis is dribbling a ball on an outdoor court, bending over a crowd of kids and exuding a childlike love of the game. A fitting conclusion it was, and the perfect way to honor a legend.
RE: RIP Captain  
Del Shofner : 3/22/2023 2:12 am : link
In comment 16072295 Rick in Dallas said:
One of the great Knicks of all time

RIP Captain - certainly top 3 along with Clyde and Ewing. A great Knick and a great man.
One of my prized possessions growing up was my Willis Reed  
markky : 3/22/2023 6:47 am : link
signature basketball. I spent a lot of time throwing that thing at the basket. He was a true legend.
Carson53 : 3/22/2023 9:52 am : link
He brought a stabilizing force to that early 70's team.
The great Willis - only player to be named All-NBA at two positions  
GeofromNJ : 3/23/2023 12:58 pm : link
power forward and center. Many fans thought getting Debusschere from Detroit in 1969 was what put NY over top. Actually, the trade for Debusschere in exchange for Walt Bellamy (and Howard Komives) enabled the Knicks to move Reed to center - and it was Reed playing center (as opposed to Bellamy who had defensive limitations) that put NY over the top.
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