Knicks great Willis Reed circa 1972. Credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN

Owning a piece of NBA history is a special opportunity for some collectors. That was true for the unnamed successful bidder for an item connected to the 1970 NBA Finals, which pitted the New York Knicks against the Los Angeles Lakers.

In Game 7 of that epic series, which was held at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 8, Knicks center Willis Reed played after a one-game injury absence (right thigh muscle tear) and helped set the tone for the team’s first NBA title.

“I didn’t want to have to look at myself in the mirror 20 years later and say I wished I had tried to play,” Reed told decades later.

The future Hall of Famer made the first two buckets of the game, a pair of jumpers, in New York’s 113-99 victory. The consensus description of Reed’s appearance on the court, hobbling and enduring the pain in his leg that day: inspiring. (His defense on Wilt Chamberlain was huge, too. Chamberlain had 45 points and 27 rebounds in Game 6, which the Lakers won. In the series finale while guarding the all-time great, Reed limited him to 2-for-9 shooting while defending him; Wilt finished with 21 points.)

Special memento

And now, a connection to that memorable game has been passed on to a new owner.

The back story: After the Knicks’ Game 7 win, one of the two baskets’ nets was presented to Knicks bench boss Red Holzman. The special memento remained in his family’s hands until Holzman died in 1998. And then it was given to Willis Reed’s family.

Now, it’s a new era, and the Reed family decided to part with the iconic net.

Reed, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982, is now 77 years old.

Recently, SCP Auctions put the net up for auction. Bidding ended on Sept. 28, with 26 bids being placed. The minimum bid was $3,000. The winning bid was $69,184.