Reed and Abdul Jabbar
The two really only met in the 1970 season, the 1970 playoff series, and the 1971 season. After that, Reed was hurt 1972 and was not the same in his final season.
In the two seasons that Reed was healthy, his Knicks beat the Bucks 12 out of 16 games. In 1971, when the Bucks were 66-16, the Knicks defeated Milwaukee four out of five times.
Reed frustrated Kareem on several occasions, including three times when he outscored him.
Nov. 3, 1970 : Knicks 112-108 : Reed 35 points | Jabbar 17 points
Nov. 27, 1971 : Knicks 103-94 : Reed 34 points | Jabbar 33 points
Jan. 26, 1971 : Knicks 107-98 : Reed 35 points | Jabbar 29 points
The Knicks won the 1970 title. The Bucks won the 1971 title. In 1973, the Knicks regained the belt. It would have been a wonderful battle throughout the 1970s if Reed had remained healthy. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would wait a few years to face a formidable challenge. This time, it came not from a native New Yorker, but from another UCLA Center. Bill Walton would win his share of battles with Kareem as Willis did but similar to Reed, Walton's body gave out far too soon.
Marv Albert : "It seems to me, trying to remember all these years later, that Willis used to kill Kareem. Reed would outplay him. I used to think Kareem was afraid of him. He watched him in New York, growing up. There was always that possibility that Reed would deck him."
Pete Vecsey : "Willis Reed was one of the fiercest competitors you'll ever find. He wiped the deck with opponents. He once beat up four Lakers, he broke John Block's jaw... another time, he was in the middle of a huge brawl in Atlanta. He was a great team player and one of the all-time enforcers. His teammates loved him."
Marv Albert : "I remember what Vecsey was talking about. It was opening night at Madison Square Garden against the Lakers. John Block just happened to be in the way. Willis just lost it. He was being restrained, and I think he once got beat up as a child when restrained. So, a fight broke out, and Reed broke free from whomever was holding him back, and he just went up and down the Lakers bench. He got Rudy Larusso as well."