Knicks legend Patrick Ewing is eternally grateful to his close friend Michael Jordan for getting him off started with his coaching career.
The Georgetown Hoyas are on a roll right now. They emerged victorious from the Big East Tournament after entering it as the 8th seed. The Hoyas entered the January Covid break with a 3-8 record, but came out on the right side (13-12).
They then upset the top-seeded Vilanova, Marquette and Creighton college to win the tournament. Ewing will enter the NCAA tournament, with the Hoyas slated to play Colorado in the first round.
This is Ewing’s first bow at the NCAA tournament as a head coach. The Knicks legend went to 3 NCAA championship games, winning one in 1984. He also teamed up with Michael Jordan on the 1984 Olympics team, which won gold at Los Angeles.
How Michael Jordan encouraged Patrick Ewing to embark on a coaching career
Jordan, his fierce rival and a close friend, convinced him to give coaching a shot after his retirement:
“Why don’t you come work for me here with the Wizards,” the Knicks legend recalled Jordan, then Washington’s vice president of basketball operations, saying. “I’ll start you off here as a coach. If you like that, we’ll let you be a coach. If not, I’ll move you to the front office.”
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) March 17, 2021
The Knicks legend was also hired by Jordan as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats in 2013. Ewing became interim head coach in the absence of Steve Clifford that season – Clifford was undergoing heart surgery at the time.
Ewing eventually landed a head coaching role with the Hoyas, where he had his greatest successes as a basketball player. But it was encouragement from his close friend and competitor that enabled Ewing to look beyond, and to a career that he wasn’t initially enthusiastic about.