We all learned today that the passing of a legend, a New York Knicks legend, a basketball legend, an NBA legend, and from all accounts from a lot of individuals who have crossed paths with him, someone who was an awesome and amazing human being, that being Willis Reed. We have a lot to discuss, a lot to talk about, a lot to celebrate, but to speak to someone who knew him, was a teammate with him, won a championship with him, was also a coach for USC, many championships as well on his way into the league coming out of UCLA, it's Henry Bibby. Mr. Bibby, how are you? I'm doing well, JR. How are you? I'm terrific.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us on, not under the best of circumstances, but an opportunity to celebrate someone amazing. Mr. Reed, how would you describe him to an audience, many of us who have never crossed him? You know, people would know him as a great basketball player, people doing that time. I don't think a lot of people, we didn't have the social media as they have now. So a lot of people didn't know about it at the time, how great this guy was as a player, how legendary he was as a player. But more so than that, you know, he was a great person, a great friend.
You know, I was his roommate. Willis was the godfather of my son. So Willis and I go back a lot of years of just being a great, great person, a great person to be around.
He would give anything to a person to help them. Just everyone loved Willis Reed. I mean, you talk about you talk about the Knicks and, you know, there are a lot of great players who played for the Knicks, who who are still playing for the Knicks. But Willis Reed is the name that everyone cheers about because of the time of the 1971 championship when he came out on one leg and dominated. But just a great person to be around, a great demeanor, just a gentle giant, so to speak, who really, really didn't get his due, you know, as a pro basketball player.
Henry Bibby is joining us here at the JR Sport Brief Show on CBS Sports Radio. You had a championship pedigree coming out of UCLA, winning consecutive one, two, three championships and then going to a New York Knicks team where the expectation was high. How did Willis Reed set the table? You talk about him as a person not given his full due as a basketball player. How did he set the tone for you going from UCLA now into the New York Knicks, especially where he has been injured?
You know, he was towards the latter years of his career. Well, you know, Willis said the tone, not just for me, he set the tone for the Knicks organization. His presence anytime he walked into a room captivated the room. People didn't see anybody else but this giant Willis Reed come in.
There was just no one like him and the impact that he had on me, it was unbelievable. He took me on his wing and, you know, he and Red Hosman got together and say, hey, you're going to be you're going to be with Willis Reed. This is you're going to be with and I, you know, I knew about Willis, but I didn't know about Willis, so to speak. He took me in, you know, I live with him and I, you know, I got to know Willis. I wrote the practice with him at times and we wrote to the games at times and it's just his presence gave me so much confidence and and I disliked him because he had me get up at night as a rookie to go get him ice when he just got in for dinner at 10 o'clock at night and I was sleeping.
So that's what I don't like about Willis and what he did to me. So, but other than that, he taught taught me the ropes where I was able to teach to other rookies that came into the league and this is the way it should have been done. Are there any other stories that you can share over the air that don't involve fetching him ice?
Any other fun stories? You know, I just I just know the dominance that he had in the game and how he would how he would play, you know, against these guys that were much bigger than he the the Wilt Chamberlain's and the Kareem Jabbar's. I've just never seen anyone, you know, take punishment and give punishment out the way Willis did but just just a great guy to be around and a great guy to ask questions and you know, I came in as a rookie and and you know, Willis were always would say, you know, you're a good player. You can get a chance to play. You just got to wait to your time.
You got to wait for your time. So I, you know, I took that as a positive for me and you know, it just it helped me down the road. Not just with playing but with coaching and my coaching career as well. Henry Bibby is here with us. The JR Sport brief show CBS Sports Radio before you came on. Mr. Bibby, we were talking about Shep and I about the it's 2023 like I gotta I gotta go.
Wait a minute. This was this was 1973 when you were on the Knicks and you guys won a championship. Thank God you were able to celebrate this recently at Madison Square Garden with the New York Knicks. What is that experience like when you all can come back together?
Is it like you snapped your fingers and you went back in time? Everybody just seemed the same. Well, you know, we did we had lost a few this time around 10 years ago. We had it and we had everybody there and it was it was just something that I I glowed in because it was just being around those guys and and being around that championship team and just seeing all the great players.
When I came in the league, there were 17 teams and my salary was $17,000 a year and I never knew I could make so much money playing basketball. And these guys and and I think Earl was making like a hundred and Willis was making a hundred and Clyde was making a hundred that was like the top of the line, but just to be in those guys presence, you know, all the guys 40 years ago, which we had everybody together. Just to sit down have dinner to talk and to just reminisce reminisce about the championship years and you know, winning the championship. We didn't have, you know, red at the time. We didn't have Danny Whalen who was our trainer. We didn't have Dave the butcher, but everybody else was there and it was just great times getting everybody together this time. We only had like five guys there and and you know, it wasn't the same but we we still got together and we relive the the times that we we all played together.
Just lots of hugs and lots of memories and we just we just took it took it in stride. Coach Henry Bibby is here with CBS Sports Radio. You talk about the salary differences from when you and Willis and Clyde and Pearl played. What do you think about the way the game is changed?
You think about someone like Willis who was as you described rugged. You didn't want no parts of him or his 20 points and 15 rebounds and the game is much looser. We have some dominance and guys athletically like Giannis. What do you think about how the game has changed and the three-point line?
Okay, that was from 79 and it's even more open now. What are your thoughts on the current game? You know, I it's nice to see I love to see the athleticism of the guys and there's there's a lot more freedom. I think in guys playing the game has you know evolved and is more of a fan type or entertainment. It's entertainment now.
That's what it is. And if they're a great great basketball players and at some point in time and all those guys are gonna be memories just like we are and you know, they're you know, you forget tiny Archibald, you know, you forget Bob Pettitte. You forget the Bob koozies and the late great John have a check in the Sam Jones and Casey Jones the guys that passed away what they brought to the league you so many years ago. They they made the league what it is today, you know, all these players should be really grateful. I guess that they have that opportunity.
I know I told my kid I made 17,000 a year. He laughs so is you know is but there were 17 teams and people would ask me. Well, why can't you break in and play?
Why can't you play? Well, you know, I hit Monroe and Frazier in front of me. I had Dean Memmiger and big Barnett.
So I was kind of the fourth and fifth gallon that on that that guard lineup. So it wasn't too much time to play until you know, I moved on to another team and got the opportunity but it's a it's great basketball being played today. You know, there are great great players, you know, who is the goat? I don't know who the goat would be is of all greatest of all basketball players. I think if you take a 10-year interval of players, you could probably figure out who the goat is in that 10-year span of time, but I don't know if there is a ever ago because there were great basketball players from the conception of the NBA. It's just that social media has blown people up so much made the basketball players really bigger than what they are. TV is made players bigger than what they are. But you know, they're still great great players out there and they play well and you know, I enjoy seeing them play, you know, there are guys that shoot the basketball, you know, say a guy like Jerry Lucas who would have who would have made a living shooting three-pointers, you know, none of his shots were counted as three-pointers. So the game has changed. The game is exciting still and they're good basketball players in all the areas of play. Coach Henry, Bibby is here with us as we start to wrap things up. Only have a few more questions for you.
Just going to be cognizant of your time. You won championships at UCLA. You then continue on at USC as a coach in the late 90s, the early 2000s. That's how the NBA has changed. We see how the system in general and college is adjusted with with NIL and that took seemingly 30 40 years just to crack that door open transfer portals. We see Rick Pitino just over the weekend losing one day and and has a job pretty much the next as a former champion in the college system as a former coach. What do you think about how that game has changed as the system of college athletics for basketball changed forever? Is it still amateur as a more pro is how do you look at it? You know, this is still evolving as well. And a lot of the coaches are using what the NBA guys do. It's kind of a kind of, you know, rotating revolving open offense. It's it's it's it's entertainment as well. But you know, it's you know, the players make a lot of money for the schools that the schools give the kids an education.
So it kind of balances out. I think, you know, I'm happy to see it, you know, become the way it is. I'm happy to see Rick Pitino get back in.
Hopefully it gives me a chance to get back in again. I'm happy to see him get back in and and it's just been basketball has been an exciting game for a lot of years and it keeps getting exciting all the time. You have, you know, they're like you said, there are so many games being played now. Basketball wise is MIT, the NCAA, the women's, you know, NCAA tournament. There are so many games being played now and there are so many great athletes. The athletes keep getting better each year with with certain training and strength and program. So you're going to you're going to see basketball keep getting better and and better athletes come along because of the different training that we have. So, you know, years ago we didn't have all the training. We didn't have the perfect foods to eat.
We didn't have the the flight schedules that that the guys have now with their own airplanes to fly. But again, you make it what it is. You know, I'm happy to see it moving forward.
We want to keep seeing the game move forward. Coach Bibby, you briefly mentioned your son, Mike. The last I saw Mike, it looked like he is just like he ate the gym.
He looks like the incredible Hulk. Is Mike still like what's that about? Is he still like a body?
What is he doing? No, he lifts every he lifts every day and all that. So, you know, he's still strong and staying healthy and stuff.
So, you know, it's what more people want to do. That's that's what he enjoyed doing. Lifting. He still plays and runs and exercise. He still is coaching. He's part of the new fan control league that's coming out.
There's very similar to fantasy football. There's a new league coming out. So he's a he's kind of running that league and he's still involved in basketball.
And I'm happy that he's in there. I was hoping that he would get a shot in the NBA and I can't see why he hasn't gotten a shot in the NBA. And hopefully somebody want to take him on and see his basketball knowledge and give the guy a break. That'd be cool to see a last question, more so a request, as you described all of the current changes in basketball at all levels. What were some qualities that you would love to see in current players in the current generation that you saw from your former teammate Willis Reed?
Well, you know, I I would like to see, you know, more leadership. I think he was it was a gentle giant until that time. He wiped out the whole, I think, the Laker team.
I think that time when he got in the fight. But other than that, you know, leadership, I think a star has to have that leadership the way Willis did and command the respect of his teammates and of other players around the league. And I think that's what Willis did a lot in people. People failed to realize that and just, you know, kind of overlook this legend, this great basketball player. I, I attribute Willis to being one of the first big guys that could knock an 18, 19 footer down.
He could, he could really do that. And doing that era of time that we played, there weren't too many centers that could knock down those jump shots. They were more, you know, inside, you know, Nate Thurman and people like that, more the Dwight Howard type of people that were inside. But Willis was a little before his time because he could make jump shots and that's what created a lot of problems for different teams because he could go inside.
He could go outside. He could take you off the dribble and he could defend the big people inside. So Willis, I like to see a lot of guys to be able to be a little more versatile, but they are getting to be that.
And like I said, the game has changed into more that than it's been ever before. Well, coach, thank you so much for the time. Thank you for the stories. Thank you for the perspective. Very much appreciated. Henry Bibby, thank you so much.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-22 00:33:53 / 2023-03-22 00:40:53 / 7