“Go for the moon. If you don’t get it you will still be heading for a star.”
NBA Great Willis Reed
In 1997, Willis Reed was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History.
Willis Reed pulled off a trifecta in 1970 when he was named MVP of the All-Star Game, MVP of the regular season and MVP of the NBA Finals.
That season, Willis led the Knicks to their first NBA Championship as they defeated the Baltimore Bullets, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs.
Reed also was named MVP of the finals three years later when the Knicks defeated the Lakers again to win another Championship.
Reed was a seven time All-Star who played in the NBA for 10 seasons and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Reed played his college ball at Grambling and was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1964-65.
Reed has been both a coach and front office executive during his post-playing days.
It has been said that you have to be in a determined state to succeed and nobody was more determined than Willis Reed.
He had the heart of a champion and in his sixth season he led the Knicks to their first ever Championship.
Willis Reed has a great deal of pride and was hurt when he was not selected to be a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.
He also was disappointed when he was not taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.
The Knicks took him with the first pick of the second round.
Reed joined a team that had been mired in last place for several seasons
To Willis, losing was not acceptable and the Knicks improved over the years to the point that in 1970 they were playing for the NBA Championship.
On May 8, 1970, Willis Reed provided one sports most dramatic moments.
Reed had hurt his hip and thigh in Game 5 of the Series however the Knicks staged a great comeback without him to win that game.
The Lakers easily won Game 6, with Reed unable to play, to force a decisive Game 7 in New York.
The question everyone asked was, “Will Willis play?”
When Willis Reed came out of the locker room and on to the court , the crowd of 19,500 at Madison Square Garden erupted.
Willis set the tone by hitting two jumpers in the opening moments as he dragged his leg down the court.
Walt Fraizer and the rest of the Knicks did the rest as New York easily defeated the Lakers.
The captain of the Knicks truly provided us with one of sports most inspirational moments.