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Ewing, Patrick


 

 

 

 

 

Ewing, Patrick

Ewing, Patrick (1962- ), American professional basketball player, who became a center for the New York Knicks in 1985 and who was a member of the United States men's basketball team that won a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Georgetown University. Ewing played cricket and soccer as a youngster in Jamaica before moving in 1975 to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he first played basketball. His first organized games took place at the Achievement School, a remedial center for junior high students where Ewing worked on his language skills. At Rindge and Latin High School, where Ewing reached his full height of seven feet, he starred as the basketball team's center, leading the team to three consecutive state championships. By his senior year Ewing's basketball record had rendered him the most sought-after college recruit in the country. He chose to attend Georgetown in part because of the notable reputation of its basketball coach, John Thompson.

In his freshman year Ewing led Georgetown to the 1982 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship game. In the 1983-1984 season the team won the NCAA championship for the first time, and Ewing was named the tournament's most valuable player. That summer he played on the U.S. Olympic basketball team, which won the gold medal. The following year, when Georgetown again reached the NCAA finals, the National Association of Basketball Coaches named Ewing the college player of the year.

In the NBA draft of college players in 1985, Ewing was the first player chosen. He signed a contract with the New York Knicks for $1.7 million, at the time the highest salary ever paid to an NBA rookie. Although injuries forced Ewing to miss 51 games in his first two years with the Knicks, he was named rookie of the year in 1986 and led all first-year players in scoring and rebounding. In 1988-1989 the Knicks won the NBA's Atlantic Division for the first time in 18 years. In 1991-1992 Ewing was named to the second team of the NBA's All-League and All-Defensive teams. In 1992 Ewing earned a gold medal at the Summer Olympic games as a member of the first U.S. Olympic basketball team to allow NBA players.

The Knicks reached the NBA Finals in 1994 but lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games despite Ewing’s 30 blocked shots, a championship-series record. Two years later, the league named Ewing one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. New York reached the league finals again in 1999, but Ewing was injured and the Knicks fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 4 games to 1. In September 2000, after 15 years in New York, Ewing was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. Ewing played one season with Seattle and one with the Orlando Magic before announcing his retirement in 2002.