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Willis Reed Of The New York Knicks

Source: Ross Lewis / Getty

The New York Knicks are sadly saying goodbye to a legend.

Hall of Famer Willis Reed has passed away at the age of 80. The Grambling State product led the Knicks to their two only championships in 1970 and 1973.

The New York Knicks released a statement on what Reed meant to the organization and the huge part he’s played in their success.

“The Knicks organization is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Captain, Willis Reed. 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,” the Knicks said in a statement. “His is a legacy that will live forever. We ask everyone to please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

As a Knickerbocker, Reed racked up plenty of achievements like being named the finals MVP for both his championships, the regular season MVP in 1970, a seven-time all-star, an All-Star game MVP, All-NBA First Team and Rookie of the Year in1965.

All those accolades rightfully ended with his No.19 jersey being retired by the Knicks in 1976.

His most memorable moment came when he brought the Knicks their first championship in 1970 as he led them to the promised land against the Los Angeles Lakers, who were stacked with Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. Despite suffering a thigh injury in Game 5 and a torn muscle, he somehow played in Game 7.

Reed still managed to limp onto the court and score the game’s first two baskets. After that, he wouldn’t score again, but the energy he injected into the team was invaluable. Teammate Walt Frazier took over from there and finished the game with 36 points and 19 assists, ultimately winning the championship 113-99.

“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,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of sports.”

See how Twitter celebrated the life of the legendary Willis Reed below.