Willis Reed RumorsAll NBA Players
Willis Reed, the center on the only two championships the Knicks won in their history, likes the move Knicks president Phil Jackson made in reaching agreement with Robin Lopez to play his old position. Lopez, the twin brother of the Nets’ Brook, is known for his defense and that is what wins, said Reed, the Hall of Famer and former Knicks captain. “Let me put it this way,” Reed said. “I know one thing about Mr. Jackson, President Jackson, he knows his defense has got to get a lot better than it was. And I’m sure he’s working on that.”
They are not doctors, don’t play ones on TV, but two of the greatest Knicks ever, “The Captain” Willis Reed and Walt “Clyde” Frazier, know something about injuries and rehab. Though both said Saturday they cannot speak to the extent of Carmelo Anthony’s bum knee, both were in agreement on one point if surgery is needed: Do it now. “I don’t know how severe it is, but if he’s going to need an operation, he should have it now,” Frazier said while signing autographs at a Steiner Sports Pop Up Shop for All-Star Weekend in Midtown. “No need in hanging around or messing around. Just have it and have that much more time to recuperate.”
Willis Reed heard the phone ring. And ring. And ring some more. Inquiring minds wanted to know his take on the Knicks’ pursuit of Phil Jackson for the front office. So they called. And called. Reed ignored them all in his Louisiana home. “I’m not a betting man,” the Knicks legendary and Hall of Fame center said Saturday, “but I would not have bet on it. I just didn’t believe we were going to get him. I never thought it was going to happen. I just thought somehow, someway, through his relationships with the Lakers and with Jeanie [Buss] that Phil Jackson would end up in the Lakers organization. “I just think for us, the Knicks, we won the lottery.”
Jot Down magazine interview: Joe Arlauckas on Bill Russell when he was the Sacramento Kings head coach: “Bill Russell was a guy who didn’t have any (expletive) clue about coaching. He was a legend, but come on man… he was lucky he had assistant Willis Reed. At the end they gave him a front office job because he had no idea. The first day he came to practice, he sat on the stands and fell asleep. Two hours later he woke up and said to Willis: ‘Hey, it’s 11.30. Quick, wrap up practice, I have to meet a friend to play golf’. This is heavy stuff.”
Willis Reed on the notion that Drazen Petrovic, a free agent when he passed, would leave the NBA: “Europe wasn’t the place for him,” Reed said. “My sense was he wanted to play at least four more years in the NBA, then probably retire (back home). He could have done anything as a player. But the level of basketball, once you play at this level, then you’re taking a step back if you go anywhere else.”
Jimmy Wergeles, the Knicks’ first and longtime public relations boss, MSG Network’s first p.r. director and a Navy veteran of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, died, Friday, at 90. Wergeles began with the Knicks on day one, in 1946, and retired from the Garden in 1985. He became particularly close with Willis Reed, who yesterday called Wergeles, “My go-to man, and one of my best friends.”
Carmelo Anthony got an endorsement as a winner from the most notable winner in Knicks history as two-time champ Willis Reed spoke up for him. In New York to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the last championship team, Reed was asked if he was surprised the franchise hadn’t won since. He started there and veered to Melo. “Well, I’m not a betting man. I mean, I’m really not a betting man,” Reed said. “But I’ll tell you, I would have bet $100 on that, I would have taken $100 of that. Right after I got out they get Patrick, and they came that close. I mean, they were there, they had it done. I thought they had it done, and they didn’t do it. You know, that’s unusual. I think this has always been a very good franchise. I think the fans have always been very loyal. It’s always been a popular team around the league, and I think it’ll stay that way.