Grambling State is mourning after the shocking passing of university legend and New York Knicks great Willis Reed at the age of 80.
Reed, who played for the Tigers from 1960 to 1964 before moving to the NBA and cementing himself as an all-time basketball great, died Tuesday due to unspecified reasons. He had been battling with various illnesses and was reportedly dealing with heart problems over the past year.
In a statement, Grambling State President Rick Gallot shared their condolences to the family of Reed while paying tribute to him and celebrating his massive impact to the school and world of sports. Gallot said Reed is a close friend of his family.
“The Grambling State University family is saddened by the loss of Willis Reed. He was a legend in his own right, and a close friend to my family. His stature and athleticism were equivalent to the depth he gave to the game, his life, and his family. Mr. Reed is the personification of what can be achieved when you purposefully go beyond what is considered possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Reed family,” Gallot shared.
Grambling State's Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Trayvean Scott also honored Reed and called him an inspiration not only for Louisiana but also for New York.
“The department of athletics mourns the passing of legendary former Grambling State basketball player Willis Reed. He was one of the game's most fierce competitors with many legendary accomplishments both on and off the court. He will be remembered for being an inspiration to all he encountered—from rural Louisiana to the bright lights of New York City. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Gale and the entire Reed family at this time,” Scott shared.
Willis Reed enjoyed a highly successful four-year career at Grambling State. He led the Tigers to the 1961 NAIA Championship against Georgetown, as well as to three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships. He played for head coach Fred Hobdy and accumulated 2,280 points in his Tigers career, per HBCU Gameday.