Bill Laimbeer was the most infamous enforcer from the most physical era we’ve ever seen. But Patrick Ewing had his number from early on.
Ewing came through from the basketball scene in the city of Boston. When he was making waves in high school basketball, Larry Bird was making his debut in the NBA.
As Bird finished his rookie year at 6th in MVP voting, Ewing had raised his profile to an impressive level. In fact, Ewing was so highly-regarded that he was even given a trial run for the USA Olympics basketball roster.
But he wasn’t going to be given any sort of wiggle room by his college-going competitors at the camp. Ewing was soon faced with an in-the-face Bill Laimbeer going at him.
Patrick Ewing punched Bill Laimbeer to teach him a lesson
Mike Jarvis was Ewing’s high school basketball coach. He trained the 7-footer to become more resilient in terms of psyche as well as physicality. This was put to the test at the Olympics camp. Jarvis says Bill Laimbeer got the worst of Ewing’s wrath at one point:
“On one of the last days, Bill Laimbeer hit him with one of those dirty chops. Patrick turned around and punched him in the face. Since that day, nobody, but nobody, has pushed Patrick Ewing around.”
This was a rivalry that continued years later into professional basketball. Patrick Ewing averaged 24.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game against Bill Laimbeer in 32 games.
He was also arguably at his defensive peak in his outings against Laimbeer, whom he held to roughly half that points total. Laimbeer has averages of 13.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists against Ewing.
Bill Laimbeer tried to bully Patrick Ewing, but it all went wrong completely.
— OLDSKOOLBBALL (@Oldskoolbball1) November 5, 2020
Laimbeer might own a lot of real estate across the state of Michigan today. But the idea of living rent-free in Ewing’s head? Nah, the Knicks legend turned it around right off the bat. Sometimes, it’s amazing to see get bullies get their backsides handed to them in this fashion.