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New York Knicks star and NBA winner Willis Reed dies aged 80

One of the icons of 1970s basketball passed away on Tuesday after troubles with his health.

NBA star Willis Reed dies aged 80

The world of basketball is mourning the loss of Willis Reed, the former NBA star who won two championships with the iconic New York Knicks sides of the 1970s.

Reed’s death was confirmed by his long-time teammate and former United States senator Bill Bradley.

The 6ft10 center spent the entirety of his ten-year NBA career with the New York Knicks, who selected him as their second round pick in the 1964 draft. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1965 and featured in the NBA All-star Game every year from 1965-1971.

However it was for his championship-winning achievements with the Knicks that he will be most fondly remembered, playing a dominate role in the side who won NBA rings in 1970 and 1973.

He became known as a clutch performer in crucial play-off games and managed to compete with the era’s most illustrious names, like Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who held a considerable height advantage.

Who did Willis Reed coach?

After his stellar playing career, Reed moved into the coaching staff of his former team in 1974. He went on to serve as the Kicks’ head coach for the 1977-78 season but left just 14 games into the following season with a record of 49-47.

He had a spell in college basketball with Creighton University and St. John’s University, before returning to the professional games. He was assistant coach at the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings, before ending his career as a coach with the New Jersey Nets.

How did Willis Reed die?

An official cause of death for Willis Reed has not yet been released, but he was known to have suffered from poor health before his passing. In his statement confirming his friend’s death, Bill Bradley said that Reed had congestive heart issues.

Bradley added that he had been receiving treatment from the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. The NBA is expected to mark Reed’s passing with a tribute in the coming days.