Basketball Hall of Famer and legendary New York Knicks center/power forward Willis Reed has died at the age of 80, veteran NBA insider Peter Vecsey reported Tuesday.
The New York Post confirmed Reed’s death.
Per the reports, Willis suffered from congestive heart problems approximately over the past year.
Reed is best known for the iconic moment in which he emerged from the tunnel at Madison Square Garden to take the court for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. His availability for that game was not immediately known — reportedly even to his teammates — given he was nursing a right thigh injury.
Reed provided an emotional lift for the Knicks in their 113-99 victory over the Lakers. He finished with just four points and three rebounds in that game.
A league MVP in 1970, Reed was named the NBA Finals MVP that season as well as in 1973. The Knicks won the NBA title in both seasons — the last two in the franchise’s history.
A seven-time All-Star, Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds in 650 career games — all with New York. He was the first member of the Knicks to have his number retired.
Reed was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.