New York Knicks hall of fame center Patrick Ewing had a very good college career playing at the University of Georgetown. In fact, he was able to to lead the Hoyas to a national championship. However, could you imagine how dominant North Carolina could have been had Ewing joined Michael Jordan and the Tar Heels?
New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing told a story while on The Dan Patrick Show where he explained how his recruitment to the University of North Carolina took a serious and impactful turn for the bad. Those events held major weight in the final decision of what college to play for.
Matt Norlander of CBSSports transcribed a quote from Ewing during his interview with Dan Patrick.
"I was close [to attending UNC]. North Carolina was a very good school but, you know, when I went down there they put me in that Carolina Inn and there was a big Ku Klux Klan rally at North Carolina when I was there. And I'm like, 'You know what? I'm not coming down here. I'm staying my butt back in Boston.'"
Let's try to imagine if Ewing would have joined Dean Smith in Chapel Hill. That 1981 squad was the same one that had star recruit Michael Jordan, sophomore big Sam Perkins and junior forward James Worthy. In 1982 Smith was able to recruit Brad Daugherty. In 1983 Kenny Smith joined North Carolina. In 1984 Jordan left and the team would have been Ewings for the season before leaving for the NBA.
In fact, in the 1982 NCAA final Ewing's Hoyas faced Jordan's Tar Heels. Jordan made the game-winning jump shot costing Ewing a championship. Two years later Ewing would capture that title by leading Georgetown past the Hakeem Olajuwon led University of Houston. However, with Ewing on that 1982 North Carolina squad Jordan may not have need that game-winning shot and they may have captured more than one title each.
In the end, Ewing doesn't have much to complain about as far as his collegiate career goes. Not only did Ewing get to play for legendary coach John Thompson, but he ultimately led Georgetown to a national title, went down in history as one of the greatest college centers of all-time and became the number one overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.
After that, it's all history. Ewing played 17 years in the NBA and was named to the All-Star team 11 times. His playing accolades include being the 1986 NBA Rookie of the Year and a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team that same year. He was a three-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team member, a six-time All-NBA Second Team player and was even named to the All-NBA First Team in 1990.
Ultimately Ewing was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and his number 33 was retired by the New York Knicks. Ewing's NBA career ended with a total of 24,815 points, 11,617 rebounds and 2,894 blocks.
Over the past 11 years since retiring Ewing's enjoyed a career as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. He was recently named associate head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Clearly Ewing should have no regrets over his collegiate decision. In the end, it worked out for everybody. However, the KKK can add driving Ewing out of North Carolina to the long list of wrongs it's done over it's disgraceful history.
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