Patrick Aloysius Ewing, born on August 5, 1962, in Kingston, Jamaica, lived on the Caribbean island until he was 12 years old before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he played basketball for the first time. Due to his size, he was asked if he would like to play. Although he had no idea about basketball, they let him play and that was only the beginning of his bright basketball future. Shortly after Ewing discovered basketball, he was about to start off high school education. The public Cambridge Rindge and Latin School flew in the basketball far below the radar until that time. With Ewing’s talent, things went uphill. From ’78 to ’81, the center led its team to a fabulous score of 76-1.
Ewing decided to study at Georgetown University in Washington and, among other things, to fight against the Tar Heels, which had Michael Jeffrey Jordan in its roster. As in high school, the arrival of Ewing brought success to Washington. In his time at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., he won the NCAA title in 1984, reached the finals three times in four years, and had a record of 121 wins and 23 defeats. He still holds some records there. For example records for most blocks and rebounds.
At the end of his time at the university, he was not only awarded the Naismith College Player of the Year award, but he also won the 1984 Olympic gold medal. It should be mentioned that at that time no NBA players were allowed to participate in the tournament. This rule was changed only with the original “Dream Team” in 1992, a basketball team in which Ewing also played. With a total of 4 years spent at university, he also got a degree in the visual arts.
The Knicks won the first NBA draft lottery, which broke out Knicks legend Dave DeBusshere in cheers. With the accumulation of successes and awards, it was no wonder that the Knicks drafted their longtime franchise center. As expected, it also came on the 18th of June 1985 in the New York Felt Forum, today’s Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Despite he had troubles with injuries in his rookie year, Patrick Ewing was the top scorer of his team with 20 points and 9 rebounds, which was enough for Rookie of the Year award. The playoffs were still missed with a score of 23-59. The struggle of the team continued in the following years, but things were about to be changed.
In the meantime, Ewing had finally been helped by John Starks, Mark Jackson, Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley and a star coach from L.A., Pat Riley. They were playing great basketball, but were not successful in playoffs, as they failed again to the Chicago Bulls and their superstars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and their coach Phil Jackson.
A unique opportunity
Then she came, the big chance. After the resignation of MJ, the Bulls were beatable – and like many other teams, New York dreamed of title. Hakeem Olajuwon had something against it.
In the finals of 1994, the Knicks and the Houston Rockets, delivered an epic defensive battle over seven games. Ewing put up 18.9 points, 12.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game – but that was not enough for Olajuwon, who was much more efficient.
Even a 3-2 lead was not enough to bring the championship back to New York 21 years after the last ring ceremony. It was Hakeem’s revenge for losing the NCAA finals. Only on a slightly larger stage.
After his years in New York, he also played one season in Seattle and finished his basketball career by playing one season in Orlando.
Patrick Ewing was an extraordinarily dominant and successful player at every level of the sport. He is one of the 50 best NBA players of all time (voted by the NBA in 1996), he holds some Knicks records (most games, minutes, points, rebounds, blocks), he was 11-time All-Star, was in various all-around NBA teams not only won one but two Olympic gold medals, the NCAA’s college championship and was eventually inducted into the 2008 Springfield basketball hall of fame. For many, he is the best player ever to play for the NY Knicks.