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Willis Reed, the NBA Hall of Famer, has died aged 80 his management team has confirmed. The Knicks have since released a statement sharing their condolences to Willis’ family as well as sharing their “deep sadness”.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement: “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.
“He played the game with remarkable passion and determination and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970s NBA Finals reminds one of the most iconic moments in all of the sports.
“As a league MVP, two-time NBA Finals MWP and a member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, Willis was a decorated player who took great pride in his consistency.
“Following his playing career, Willis mentored the next generation as a coach, team executive and proud NBCU alumnus.
“We send our deepest condolences to Willis’ wife, Gail, his family and his many friends and fans.”
A cause of death has not been shared.
The Knicks released the statement: “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.
“His is a legacy that will live forever.
“We ask everyone to please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
In a tweet, basketball columnist Peter Vecsey claimed Reed “suffered from congestive heart problems over the past year or so and was going through rehab to walk”.
Tributes have begun to pour in on Twitter for the late star.
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