“Michael Jordan vs. Patrick Ewing started WAY before the NBA!” : A little throwback to the legends of the Bulls and Knicks in the golden age of college basketball


Michael Jordan was a household name before he entered the NBA – such was his quality even in his college days.

In his blue and white UNC uniform, Michael Jordan looked like every player he would one day become. A chain around his neck, his tongue sticking out as he dipped, and no fear in his eyes. Not the biggest player on the court, MJ wanted all the smoke against the biggest. This is where the rivalry between him and Patrick Ewing began.

Playing 3 years of college basketball against each other, Patrick Ewing was drafted a year after the Black Cat, even though they were in the same college class. The battle between Georgetown and North Carolina was one no one wanted to miss – seeing two future Hall of Famers face off in college discussions is an opportunity that rarely comes along.

Their career trajectories were very similar – coach Dean Smith wanted them to be together at tryouts. Although he convinced Jordan to choose UNC, Ewing went to Georgetown. From the following year, the two pillars clash. Not just in any game, the NCAA title game. Jordan hit the game-winning jumper in a 63-62 win, and the rest is history.

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Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing was a game people loved to watch – their battles when Chicago played New York were legendary

After entering the league, the personalities of the two juggernauts couldn’t be different. While Jordan was vocal and open about his thirst for championships, the 7-foot gentle giant couldn’t be more disenchanted with New York’s glitz. In his first four seasons, the Knicks had less than 500 seasons and it looked like he was going to fade away pretty quickly.

But the arrival of a young Shaquille O’Neal lit a fire under Patrick, who went on to play as himself in college. Jordan and Ewing faced off again in a high-stakes game, much like the 1982 title game in the 1991 playoffs. This time it wasn’t so close, with the Bulls passing the Knicks in a 3-0 win. They finished champions for the first time, and thus began the serial championship blocker that Jordan became for the greats.

Although they both had face-to-face clashes, they were good friends off the pitch. The friendship that was almost started by Coach Smith in 1981, turned into a good friendship at the 1984 Olympics. They both won gold and showed the world what a dominating force they could have been together.

Ironically, Jordan was the one who wore Converse sneakers all those years before switching to Nike, while it was the other way around with Ewing.

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