Patrick Ewing was selected first overall in the 1985 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. Although injuries marred his first year in the league, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year by averaging 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Very soon, he became one of the premier centers of the league. Ewing was an eleven time NBA All-Star, was named to the All-NBA First Team once, to the All-NBA Second Team six times and to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times. He was a member of the original Dream Team at the 1992 Olympic Games, winning a second gold medal. In 1996, he was also given the honor of being named one the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
In spite of all his honors, Ewing never managed to lead the Knicks to an NBA championship. In 1993, it finally seemed the Knicks were on their way to the NBA Finals when they took a 2-0 lead over Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. However, the Bulls stunned Ewing as they won the next 4 games of the series. It was just one more ringless season Ewing had to deal with, despite the fact that the New York Knicks had the best record in the Eastern Conference with 62 wins and just 20 losses. He was a key contributor to the Knicks' run to the Finals in 1994, in which the Knicks lost in the final seconds of games 6 and 7 to Hakeem Olajuwon's Houston Rockets. It was only the second time in NBA history that a team came from losing 3-2 in the NBA finals and won the next two games to win the championship. The following year, a three-foot finger roll attempt by Ewing rimmed out of the basket in the dwindling seconds of game 7 against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Given this opportunity, Ewing would usually simply slam dunk the ball, but the fact that he went for a finger roll is one of the things certain fans have never forgotten about him. (The Knicks returned to the NBA Finals in 1999, but Ewing missed the latter part of their playoff run due to an achilles injury). In 2000, he finally left the Knicks, being traded to the Seattle Supersonics. In the trade, the Knicks sent Ewing to Seattle and Chris Dudley to the Suns, and received Glen Rice, Luc Longley, Travis Knight, Vladimir Stepania, Lazaro Borrell, Vernon Maxwell, two first-round draft picks (from the Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle) and two second-round draft picks from Seattle. This is considered by many to being a major step in the downfall of the relative success of the Knicks. After a year with the Sonics and another with the Orlando Magic, he finally announced his retirement on September 18, 2002. That season, he took a job as an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards.
On February 28, 2003 Patrick Ewing's jersey with number 33 was retired in a large ceremony at Madison Square Garden. Ewing continues to be considered one of the New York Knicks finest of all time, as well as one of the greatest players in NBA history. Knicks rivalries against the Bulls, Pacers, and Heat, in which Ewing was a centerpiece, were some of the most intense of the decade. However, his inability to bring a championship to New York mars an otherwise Hall of Fame Career. Patrick Ewing continues his career as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets.
Awards and Accomplishments
- 1985-1986 Rookie of the Year
- All NBA First Team: 1990
- All NBA Second Team: 1988, 1989, 1991–1993, 1997
- NBA All Defensive Second Team: 1988, 1989, 1992
- Two time Olympic Gold Medalist: 1984, 1992
- NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player (1984)
- Naismith College Player of the Year in (1985).
- One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)
- In 1999, Ewing became the 10th player to score 22,000 points and 10,000 rebounds
- In 1993 he led the NBA with 789 defensive rebounds. He was top ten in field goal percentage 8 times, top ten in rebounds per game as well as total rebounds 8 times, top ten in points, as well as points per game 8 times, and top ten in blocks per game for 13 years
- In 1996, Ewing suffered a moment of embarrassment when Muggsy Bogues, who stands a mere 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in), managed to block a shot of 2.10 m (7 ft) Ewing.
- Ewing's son, Patrick Ewing, Jr., currently attends his father's alma mater, Georgetown University, after transferring from Indiana University.
- His greatest moment arguably came during Game Six of the 1992 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. He would go down with an injury, yet continue playing and upsetting the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. The Bulls would wrap the series in Game Seven and win the championship against Clyde Drexler's Portland Trail Blazers.