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Reed, Willis

(born June 25, 1942, Hico, La., U.S.) black American professional basketball player and professional and collegiate basketball coach.

Reed left his home in rural Louisiana to attend Grambling State College (now University), from 1961 to 1964; there he ushered the basketball squad to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships three times, emerging victorious in 1961.

Reed joined the New York Knickerbockers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1964 as a second-round draft pick. That season he averaged 19.5 points per game and was named NBA Rookie of the Year. The Knicks went to the NBA title game in 1970, and Reed earned the distinguished Most Valuable Player award for the regular season, the championships, and the All-Star game. No other NBA player has been honoured with all three distinctions in the same season.

Reed was a motivating force during his 10-year career with the Knicks. During the 1973 NBA championship games, he was unable to play the sixth game owing to a knee injury. In the tie-breaking seventh game, Reed hobbled onto the court and made two inspiring baskets, galvanizing his teammates, who went on to win the championship. Reed never fully recovered from his knee injury, and he retired in 1974. As an NBA player Reed compiled an 18.7 points-per-game average in 650 regular season games, with a total 12,183 points. His 8,414 rebounds made him the Knicks foremost rebounder.

After leaving the Knicks as a player, Reed returned as a coach in 1977–79. He coached collegiate basketball at Creighton and St. John's universities. Reed held other NBA coaching positions, with the Sacramento Kings, the Atlanta Hawks, and the New Jersey Nets, where he was also general manager. In 1981 Reed was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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