A limping Willis Reed inspiring the New York Knicks to an incredible Game 7 win for their first NBA championship in 1970 is arguably the greatest moment in franchise history.
Owning a piece of this iconic moment would be invaluable to a die-hard Knicks fan.
The warm-up jacket that Reed wore before this game and during the post-game celebration is up for grabs at Gray Flannel Auctions. The authenticity of the jacket was guaranteed after being linked to his post-game interview with ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell.
The white jacket featuring the Knicks’ classic “NY” logo was made by Gerry Cosby and Co., an institution for Knicks and New York Rangers apparel. It also features a custom, embroidered “Reed” crest signifying that it belongs to the former Knicks captain.
According to Gray Flannel Auctions, the jacket originally came from a car dealership employee who traded with a Madison Square Garden employee who likely traded a car for the jacket.
In December 2009, Gray Flannel Auctions sold a Reed jersey worn by the game during the 1973–74 season for $39,000. Reed’s warm-up jacket should fetch more than that, given the historical significance of the event.
“This one will blow that price away,” Sam Heller, a rep for Gray Flannel Auctions, told Empire Sports Media.
The Knicks entered Game 7 unsure if Reed would play after tearing a muscle in his right thigh in the fourth quarter of Game 5. The Knicks survived in Game 5 but were outplayed in Game 6.
The crowded Madison Square Garden went into a frenzy when Reed emerged wearing the tunnel warm-up jacket. Reed had two jump shots against Wilt Chamberlain and never scored again. But his presence was enough to inspire the Knicks, who led by no less than 29 points in the first half, to clinch their first NBA title with a 113-99 victory over their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reed was honored as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996. He was later honored again as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. He won two championships with the Knicks and was the Finals MVP in both series. He also won regular season MVP in 1970.
At press time, the current bid for Reed’s signature warm-up jacket is $16,106. Auctions will close on June 4.