Photo by: Ross Lewis/Getty Images

Willis Reed, the great New York Knicks captain, and star center who guided the team to its only two titles and was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NBA history, has passed away from congestive heart failure. He was 80. 

“The Knicks organization is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Captain, Willis Reed,” the Knicks stated. “As we mourn, we will always strive to uphold the standards he left behind — the unmatched leadership, sacrifice, and work ethic that personified him as a champion among champions.” 

Reed was born on June 25, 1942, in Dubach, Louisiana. Prior to going to the New York Knicks in the second round of the 1964 NBA draft, he excelled during his time at Grambling State University from 1960 to 1964. 

His career would end with averages of 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. 

Photo by: Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

Throughout his ten-year career, which he spent playing for the Knicks, Reed reached monumental goals. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1965 and the Most Valuable Player award in 1970. Reed was also a seven-time All-Star and a five-time All-NBA pick. 

He finally made the 50th and 75th anniversary teams for the NBA. 

“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader. My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks’ championship teams in the early 1970s,” Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner stated. 

Our condolences are with Willis “The Captain” Reed’s family and loved ones at this time. May Willis “The Captain” Reed rest in power. 

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