Looking back at film from Game Seven of the 1970 NBA Finals, an excited television announcer announces the return of Willis Reed after suffering a muscle tear in his right thigh.

“I think we see Willis Reed coming out!”

On Tuesday, March 21, “The Captain” completed his journey here on Earth. The Lillie, Louisiana native leaves behind a well-decorated legacy, not just in the basketball world. But, here at home.

“…Willis Reed was a giant in his own way, ” says Wilbert Ellis, longtime Grambling baseball coach and friend to Reed. “He made a difference and gave back to the world…”

Reed’s contributions to the sport include two NBA titles, a pair of Finals’ Most Valuable Player honors, and a seven-time All-Star selection. He still never forgot where he came from.

“Coach [Fred] Hobdy was my father, ” says Reed in a 2018 interview. “And, we’ve had a chance to, and I’m happy that I had a chance to meet and visit and talk to Coach Eddie Robinson. And, be a part of some of the things I saw him accomplish while I was here at Grambling.”

Reed starred for the Tigers from 1960-64. During his run, GSU won the 1961 NAIA National Championship.

“We ended up all of the way in the finals against Georgetown, ” Reed reflected in Summer 2018. “And, I read a paper. And, the paper said that Georgetown was going to run Grambling off of the floor. And, I say, ‘We are a running team. We average nearly 100 points a game.’ We beat them 95-75. So, they didn’t quite run as fast as they thought they were.”

Reed battled various health complications over the last year. But, Wilbert Ellis and others were always by his side.

“He wouldn’t give in or wouldn’t give up, ” says Ellis. “He reminded me of the night he played in the championship game. He got hurt. He was always going in. But, most of all, he came out.

Willis Reed’s time with us is complete. But, the years and moments he gave us will live on.

“I love the country. I love these people. Grambling is a great place.”