Dave DeBusschere, 'Double D', began his career with the Detroit Pistons in 1963 and was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives during the 1968-1969 season.
The Knicks had already built an impressive nucleus primarily through the draft. Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Cazzie Russell and Walt 'Clyde' Frazier all came to New York between 1965 & 1967. But it was the move for DeBusschere that allowed Willis Reed to move to center that set in motion the great '69/'70 run to the NBA finals and the epic match that ensued against Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Knicks opened with a 124-112 win in Game One. The Lakers bounced back with a 105-103 victory in Game two and the series shifted to Los Angeles.
In Game Three, the Knicks took a two point lead with three seconds to go on a DeBusschere 15 footer, but Jerry West took the inbound pass from Chamberlain, dribble twice and then threw up a miracle 63 footer that somehow caught net and tied the game.
But the Knicks prevailed in OT. To this day, Jerry West will remark "that he still cannot believe the Lakers lost that game", and the Knicks went up in the series 2-1.
Game Four was another OT thriller, this time the Lakers prevailed 121-115, behind 37 points from West and another 30 from Elgin Baylor.
Back to New York for Game Five the Knicks suffered a seismic loss when their leader, center Willis Reed went down with a bad calf injury. The Lakers took a 16 point lead in the third but the Knicks went to an unrelenting full court defense and rallied for a 107-100 victory.
Meanwhile the 6'-7" DeBusschere was forced to man up against the 7'-1" Chamberlain and back at the Forum for Game Six, Wilt took no quarter and strafed the Knicks for 45 points en route to a 135-113 Laker rout setting up a Game Seven match at what would be a frenzied Madison Square Garden.
That turned out to be one of the games' historic moments. Willis Reed made a dramatic entrance onto the court during shoot around, played the first couple of moments, hit a couple of jumpers and the Knicks never looked back behind an astounding team effort highlighted by Walt Frazier's 36-point, 19 assist, 7 rebound performance.
In that 113-99 victory, DeBusschere played Chamberlain once more this time holding the big 'fella to 21 points (1-11 from the free throw line), putting up 18 while hauling in 17 rebounds himself.
That Knick team twice returned to the finals, losing in '72, winning in '73, but Reed's persistent knee troubles and DeBusschere's endless brutal battles in the middle as a result of the Captain's absence short circuited what might have been a longer run for the New Yorkers.
Both players retired after the 1974 season and the New York Knicks have never seen an NBA Championship since.