It seems everyone has a story about where they were - and how they reacted - when Michael Jordan announced his first retirement from basketball.
Apparently, Patrick Ewing found out just like the rest of the world (in spite of a longtime connection with Jordan): on ESPN.
"I heard about it like everyone else, on ESPN," Ewing told ESPN's Rachel Nichols in a recent appearance on "The Jump!" "It's ironic because we both have the same agent and when I found out I called him up and was like 'Dave (Falk), you couldn't give me a heads up?'
"He was like 'I promised Michael, I promised Michael.' I found out just like everyone else and I was shocked."
Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing joins #TheJump to talk his battles with Michael Jordan, how he found out MJ was leaving to play baseball, his view of Jeff Van Gundy on Alonzo Mourning's leg (😂), and his response to harsh criticism from Charles Oakley. pic.twitter.com/MLXsaIlu9V
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 11, 2020
And who wouldn't be? This was (already!) the consensus greatest basketball player of all time, hanging up his threads in the middle of his prime and coming off three consecutive championships. Shock was the appropriate reaction.
Ewing obviously didn't linger on that sentiment too long, though, because in Jordan's retirement lay opportunity for his Knicks. In the 1993-94 season Jordan missed while pursuing a career in baseball, the Knicks won 57 regular season games and outlasted the Bulls in a seven-game second round playoff series that is famous for the Scottie Pippen "1.8 seconds game" in Game 3 and Hue Hollins phantom foul call (again, starring Pippen) in Game 5. It was the only playoff series (out of five) the Knicks beat the Bulls in in the 1990s.
Of course, there was also this in Game 6 (sorry Patrick, had to get one shot in)
The throwdown. The look down. The taunting of Spike Lee.
This Scottie Pippen dunk over Patrick Ewing had it all. pic.twitter.com/J6yhKfc2g4
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 9, 2020
The Knicks advanced to the Finals that year, but fell to the Houston Rockets in another seven-game barn-burner. A tough break, because within 14 months of stepping down, Jordan was back to torment the Knickerbockers for the second half of the decade.
How Patrick Ewing found out about Michael Jordans first retirement originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago