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NBA.com staff report
Willie Naulls, a four-time All-Star with the Knicks and three-time champion with the Celtics, passed away on Sunday at age 84. The cause was respiratory failure resulting from Churg-Strauss syndrome according to his wife, Dr. Anne Van de Water Naulls.
A Texas native and UCLA All-American, Naulls scored and rebounded his way to becoming just one of 10 players in Knicks history with at least four All-Star appearances. He became a pioneer of diversity in sports after Knicks teammates named him a team captain, the first black athlete with such an honor for any major professional sports team.
The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 19.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in seasons with the Knicks, including a 49-point, 24-rebound performance against Hall-of-Famer Bailey Howell and the Detroit Pistons.
Naulls was later traded to San Francisco (1962) and Boston (1963), where he won a trio of championship rings playing alongside Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Tom Heinsohn.
With news of his passing, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of former Knick, Willie Naulls. A true pioneer, Willie was the first African-American team captain in franchise history and currently 13th on the all-time Knicks scoring list. pic.twitter.com/hv6YsiQ4ER
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 25, 2018
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 26, 2018