The National Basketball Retired Players Association reported that the American professional basketball player and coach Willis Reed Jr. had died at the age of 80.
NBA fans always remember him for his stunning performance at the 1970 NBA finale, which took the team(New York Knicks) to their first championship. He dramatically entered the game from the locker room minutes before the game and played through pain which brought him great respect among all the players of the time.
After the association announced the player’s demise, his family confirmed the news. As of the reports, Reed passed away from heart failure. His health is said to have deteriorated in the past few weeks. It was reported that the player had been diagnosed with congestive heart problems for about a year and more.
As the news of the player’s demise hit the headlines, NBA fans around the globe are paying tribute to the former player and coach. The article here will help you know more about the basketball player who has created a name of his own in history with his performance in the NBA.
Who Is Willis Reed?
Willis Reed Jr. is not only a former basketball player but has also served as a coach and a general manager. Born in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, U.S., on June 25, 1942, the player completed his entire basketball career with the New York Knicks.
He started playing basketball in his school days and got selected by the New York Knicks in the second round of the 1964 NBA draft. The player was known for his fierce, dominating, and physical force and was voted one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History.”
After suffering many injuries throughout his playing career, Reed finally retired from the NBA after the 1973-74 season. And after retirement, he spent a few years coaching different teams and later became the general manager. In 2004, he started working for the New Orleans Hornets as the vice president of basketball operations. In 2007, he gave up all of his jobs.
Willis Reed Personal Life And Family
The 80-year-old former NBA player was born as the only child of Willis Sr. and Inell Reed. Although he was born in Lincoln Parish, he grew up in Bernice and attended the West Side High School in Lillie, Louisiana. Later, he joined Grambling State University, a historically black college. As he has shown interest in basketball from a young age, he played several games throughout his schooling and college days.
In 1964, he married Geraldine, his college sweetheart, during their days in the university and had two children, Tracey and Willis Jr. The couple divorced years later, putting an end to their love life. The reason for their separation is still unclear, but the reports stated that the former couple still is on good terms.
Years after his divorce from Geraldine, he found love again. He married Gale Kennedy in 1983 in Roslyn Heights, New York, and shared a happy life until they parted ways by his death in 2023.
Willis Reed Net Worth
Being categorized as one of the greatest players in NBA history, he must have earned quite a good fortune both from his career as a player and a coach. Apart from this, he has also served as a General manager and a vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Hornets. Functioning in all these posts could have helped him acquire a good fortune by this time.
From an early estimate, it was revealed that Reed was one of the highest-paid players in the league. He even earned a salary of around $100,000 in the early 70s.
As of the 2023 estimate, Reed’s has acquired a net worth of around $4 – $5 Million. Apart from games, he has also collaborated with several leading brands, including Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup. All these endorsements have helped him in building both fame and fortune.
Willis Reed Cause Of Death: How Did He Die?
The 80-year-old former NBA player and coach was announced dead by the National Basketball Retired Players Association. Later, the news was confirmed by his family who stated that the player passed away from heart failure.
Earlier, some sources revealed that the player was diagnosed with a congestive heart problem in the past couple of years. Also, the family said he couldn’t attend the 1973 championship team’s 50th-anniversary celebrations organized by the Knicks in New York in February.
Willis Reed Jr. was announced dead on March 21, 2023, at the age of 80.