There’s a very short list of players who played with the tenacity that Patrick Ewing played with throughout his entire career. There have been those players who played hard and ferocious because they were trying to make up for lack of talent, but Patrick had tremendous talent and yet he still played with a fire and determination that inspired the rest of his team.
Patrick doesn’t get nearly the recognition and respect due him for almost single-handedly carrying a New York Knicks team that was routinely overmatched in the talent department in all the key positions, except at center. He became even more of a force to be reckoned with when he was coached by Pat Riley, who had a way of bringing out the best in all his players… or you just weren’t going to play, no matter how good you thought you were.
I was fortunate to be a teammate of Patrick Ewing for a short time during the 1991 – 92 season after I was traded to the New York Knicks from the Dallas Mavericks. I got to see for myself up close and personal the preparation, determination, leadership, and consistency that Patrick brought to his team. Patrick is one of the classic examples of an all-time great falling just short of an NBA championship ring, and it just goes to show you that sometimes it’s the luck of the draw and that this is still a team game even when you have one of the top five players of his era.
I mention from time to time throughout the book those players whom I would welcome into “the foxhole” if we had to fight our way out of any situation in the heat of battle. Patrick Ewing tops the list!
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