Willis Reed (born June 25, 1942 in Bernice, Louisiana) is an American former basketball player, who played for the New York Knicks for his entire career. In his first years he held the power forward position, then he gained fame as the starting center.
Despite his average stature (he stood at a mere 6 ft 9 in, when, for instance, his contemporaries Wilt Chamberlain or Lew Alcindor stood at 7 ft 1 in and 7 ft 2 in respectively), Reed enjoyed a brilliant career with the Knicks, winning two championship rings, in 1970 and 1973 and one MVP award in 1970.
Reed's most famous performance took place on May 8, 1970, during Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in Madison Square Garden. Despite a severe thigh injury, he started the game in front of a thrilled audience, won the tip-off, and scored the first two baskets of the game. The Knicks won the game 113-99, giving New York City its first ever NBA title.
Sadly, Reed's career was cut short by injuries and he had to retire after the 1973-1974 season, his tenth. For his career, Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, playing 650 games.
For all his achievements, he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. He is widely considered as one of the greatest Knicks ever, with the likes of Walt Frazier and Patrick Ewing.
He coached the Knicks from 1977-1978. He served as volunteer assistant coach for St. John's University and head coached Creighton University from 1981-1985. Also in the 1980s he served as an assistant coach for both the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks. He became the head coach of the New Jersey Nets from 1988-1989, compiling an 82-124 win-loss record. He became the Nets' General Manager & Vice President of Basketball Operations from 1988 to 1996.