A second-round pick out of Grambling State in the 1964 draft, not many expected Willis Reed to become a superstar. Instead, he came fast out of the starting gate his rookie season and averaged 19.5 points and 14.7 rebounds on his way to being named NBA Rookie of the Year. The rest is history.
In 10 seasons, all spent with the Knicks, Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds as a forward/center. He made seven All-Star teams and was the league MVP in 1970. That year, his Knicks also happened to win their first championship. His history with the NBA Finals that year is easily one of the most inspiring in both team history and in the history of the game.
The Knicks were playing the Los Angeles Lakers, who had stars like Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West on the team. The series was an absolute dogfight that forced a deciding Game 7, and Reed was not expected to play because of a torn thigh muscle.
However, Reed walked onto the court during warmups and the fans roared. He started that game and made the Knicks' first two field goals, his only points of the game. The team rallied behind his toughness and the Knicks won Game 7 by a score of 113-99.
Injuries may have limited him in the latter half of his career, forcing his retirement at just 31 years old, but Reed's physicality and tough style make him the perfect power forward in this lineup.