Willis Reed makes history through basketball, sparked success in Grambling


Willis Reed Jr. is a retired basketball player, coach, and general manager. Reed spent his professional basketball career playing for the New York Knicks from 1964-1974. Throughout that time period, Reed certainly made a name for him self that would forever be remembered.

Reed was born in 1942 in Hico, Louisiana. He grew up on a farm in nearby Bernice. His parents worked to ensure that Reed got an education in the segregated South.

Reed showed athletic ability at an early age and played basketball at West Side High School in Lillie.

He then attended Grambling State University. Reed amassed 2,280 career points, averaging 26.6 points and 21.3 rebounds during his senior year. He led the college to one NAIA title and three Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships, and then began playing for the New York Knicks. 

Reed was the heart, soul and backbone of the Knicks’ 1970 and 1973 championship teams. The 6’9½”, 240 lbs. former Grambling Tiger played ten seasons in New York and appeared in seven NBA All-Star Games. He was NBA Rookie of the Year in 1964-65 and NBA Most Valuable Player in 1969-70. He was selected Finals MVP both years that the Knicks wore the crown.

During 1982, Reed was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basket Ball Hall of Fame, and voted one of the 50 greatest basketball players in NBA history.