The bond between Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing is among the most iconic in basketball. The two were great friends off the court despite their rivalry on it.
The rivalry between the two all-time legends began in their college career. Jordan met Ewing in the Finals of the 1982 NCAA Basketball tournament.
This would spur the first iconic moment in a series of them through two decades of dominance for Jordan. MJ made the game-winning shot to give the Tar Heels the championship over the Georgetown Hoyas.
Ewing and Jordan are from the same high school class. The former stayed with the Hoyas through all 4 years of college. He eventually won the NCAA championship in 1984. This meant that their summer meetup at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles had some extra zing.
Michael Jordan gave Patrick Ewing a neck injury while wrestling in their room
Assistant coach C.M. Newton told former Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps about an incident from the Olympics. This involved Jordan and Ewing, who were roommates, wrestling each other for fun, resulting in some dire consequences:
“He and Jordan are roommates. They were wrestling in their room, and Ewing has a twisted neck.”
Ewing almost didn’t play during the summer of 1984 because of this injury. He expected to be sent home by head coach Bob Knight, but Phelps told Knight that he “needed” to have Ewing on the Olympic team. Hewas working as an analyst for ABC at the time. Since Phelps and Knight were good friends, Knight didn’t make any changes to the roster.
Patrick Ewing Once Had a ‘Twisted Neck’ After Wrestling Michael Jordan in 1984 https://t.co/HmLIIgLnQs
— Donald Wilcenski (@Deedoubleyou33) January 14, 2021
Jordan and Ewing went on to win gold at the Olympics. In the runup to the Games, a college team led by Jordan also beat a team of NBA All Stars during training camp. It was the beginning of his NBA legend, and he wasn’t even in the league then.