Willis Reed

It was a classic moment in basketball history when a courageous Willis Reed hobbled through the tunnel at Madison Square Garden, reemerging on the floor for game seven of the 1970 NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. A physical inside player who battled heroically against the era's bigger and stronger players, Reed neutralized them with a surefire outside jump shot. Reed's winning attitude, determination, desire, and leadership inspired New York to the 1970 and 1973 NBA championships. The left-handed Reed holds the distinction of being the first player named MVP of the All Star Game, regular season, and playoffs in the same year when he accomplished the feat in 1970. Prior to his pro career, Reed led Grambling College to three NAIA Tournaments, including the 1961 national championship. Injuries held back Reed, however, and torn cartilage in his right knee forced him to retire in 1974, cutting short a marvelous career.