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Patrick Ewing on leaving the New York Knicks: "That’s something I shouldn't have done"

An aging Patrick Ewing left the New York Knicks instead of retiring in 2000. He explains his side of what really happened and what triggered the trade request.
Patrick Ewing regrets leaving the New York Knicks at the end of his career

Patrick Ewing spent a big majority of his career with the New York Knicks 

Patrick Ewing played for the New York Knicks for 15 years. Although he failed to win a championship for the franchise, no one can question the blood, sweat, and tears he poured for the city. However, instead of retiring as a Knick, he jumped ship and played for the Seattle Supersonics and the Orlando Magic, a decision Ewing admitted regretting today.

It’s time to move on

Pat last played as a Knick in the 1999-2000 season. At 37 years old, it was evident that he was past his prime, but instead of retiring, he was traded to the Seattle Supersonics in exchange for Glen Rice, Luc Longley, Travis Knight, and other players. Loyal Knicks fans were at a loss, especially since Ewing was their franchise player. Touching on that specific topic, the Georgetown University men’s senior basketball team coach admitted he shouldn’t have left in an interview with Etan Thomas of Basketball News.

Ethan Thomas:“I thought you should have ended your career with New York. Then you told me they didn’t offer you an opportunity to coach there, I’m like, ‘Are they serious?’”

Patrick Ewing: “In terms of me being traded, I think that was my desire to move on. I played there 15 years and for 15 years you keep hearing the chatter. ‘Well, the Knicks would be better off without him’, ‘They need to move on without him’. So for 15 years, I kept hearing that chatter. And I got older. I was tired of hearing it. I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m going off this ship.’ In hindsight, that’s something I should not have done. I should have ended my career there in New York. But it is what it is.”

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Perhaps, the feeling of being wanted and valued played its part in Patrick Ewing’s decision to walk away. The front office claimed they appreciated what their All-Star center meant to the franchise on paper. They could have offered him a new contract, but the trade still happened.

Patrick Ewing is New York Knicks personified

Only a few players in the league have become synonymous with the teams they played in for most of their careers. There’s Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers, Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks.

Ewing was named an All-Star 11 times and made the NBA finals twice, in 1994 against the Houston Rockets and 1999 against the San Antonio Spurs. He didn’t play against the Spurs in 1999 due to injuries. In his 15-year career, he averaged 22.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.7 BPG, and .508 FG percentage. Many believe that if Patrick didn’t face MJ’s Bulls in the playoffs, the Knicks could have won a couple of titles.

New York made the postseason 13 times with him on the roster and tallied a winning record of 668-530. After he left the team, New York has not been relevant since. The Knicks only made the playoffs five times and recorded losing seasons (643-965).

Unfortunately, Patrick Ewing didn’t get the proper retirement he deserved and should have been a lifer for the Knicks. In hindsight, the Patrick Ewing scenario should have warned other players about how disarray the front office was. Maybe, it could have saved them from joining the Knicks and being part of its woeful history. 

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