The New York Knicks
managed only one winning season between 1955 and 1966. Desperate to improve, the team took Willis Reed
in the second round of the 1964 draft. Reed hailed from Grambling State University, where he had amassed 2,280 career points and averaged 26.6 points and 21.3 rebounds per game during his senior year.
After disposing of the Baltimore Bullets and Milwaukee Bucks in seven- and five-game series, the Knicks met another talented squad in the 1970 NBA finals: the Los Angeles Lakers, led by 7-foot-1-inch center Wilt Chamberlain
, guard Jerry West
and forward Elgin Baylor
. In the first four games of the series, Reed dominated, scoring 37, 29, 38 and 23 points, respectively, while averaging 15 rebounds.