Nick Friedell

Barcelona Flashback: Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing become pals

Fourth-Place Medal

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After years of playing against each other, Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing finally found themselves on the same team at the Barcelona Games in 1992. Almost instantly, the pair hit it off. "He and I from day one, we were always joking with one another," Ewing said to me last month at the Orlando Summer League. "We were like Frick and Frack, everywhere you saw him, you saw me."

They became so inseparable that people around the team gave them a nickname. "Me and Patrick just hung around a lot together (in Barcelona)," Bird said to me at the same event. "So everybody just called it "The Harry and Larry Show."

How did Ewing end up getting dubbed as "Harry" in this combination? It sounds like there is an inside-joke between the two men, but neither wanted to divulge how the name came to be. Bird said he didn't give his new buddy the moniker, but a smiling Ewing must have known otherwise. "I think it came from him," Ewing said. "I think he's lying."

No matter where the nickname came from, it's clear that both men thoroughly enjoyed their Olympic moment. "It was a great experience playing for your country," Bird said. "The Olympics was the ultimate."

For Ewing, the Barcelona Games were actually the second time he represented Team U.S.A. in the Olympics. He also won a gold medal in 1984 alongside Michael Jordan and Chris Mullin at the Los Angeles Games. "Every Olympic memory I have was fun-filled ... the guys that I played with (on both teams) were great guys, and we still remain friends."

In Bird's case, the '92 Games served as a crowning achievement. "That was at the end of my career, I knew it was over for me," Bird said of his time in Barcelona. Hearing the Star-Spangled Banner atop the medal stand fufilled a childhood dream for the Celtics legend. "Being a young kid and being able to watch the Olympics on TV, and watching participants getting their gold medal, and their (country's) song was played, that was the ultimate for me."

Ewing shared the same sentiments. As much as he enjoyed playing on the team in 1984, even he had to admit that there was something special about the '92 Games. "It was a great team (in '92), the world took notice."

Photo via Getty Images

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