Patrick Ewing

How Patrick Ewing found out about Michael Jordan’s first retirement

How Patrick Ewing found out about Michael Jordan’s first retirement

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."

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 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.

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Michael Jordan still talks trash to Patrick Ewing for beating him in playoffs

Michael Jordan still talks trash to Patrick Ewing for beating him in playoffs

We all have that one person in our lives who won’t let us live something down that happened years and years ago.

For Patrick Ewing, that guy is Michael Jordan.

Ewing joined Rachel Nichols on “The Jump” on Monday to discuss “The Last Dance” and revealed he’s still hearing about how MJ always beat him when it mattered most.

“He's been talking trash from the first day that I met him and he still continues to talk trash, telling me that I have never beat him when it counts,” Ewing said on “The Jump.”

I mean, if you dominate a peer time and time again, why not rub it in?

Jordan and Ewing met five times in the playoffs. And five times Jordan and the Bulls beat Ewing and the Knicks. In fact, the only time Ewing was able to make it past the Bulls in the playoffs was in 1994, with Jordan in the middle of his first retirement. Even then, Pippen and company pushed the Knicks to seven games.

“It still hasn't stopped,” Ewing said. “If I call him right now, he'll still be talking trash to me.”

No wonder Ewing hasn’t been watching all of “The Last Dance.”

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Patrick Ewing: For Dream Team, the practices ‘were the real games’

Patrick Ewing: For Dream Team, the practices ‘were the real games’

In Episode 5 of “The Last Dance,” the legendary run of the Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was chronicled. Chiefly, their intense practices.

And why wouldn’t even their exhibition runs be contentious? That squad is the consensus greatest basketball team ever assembled, consisting of 11 Hall of Famers, most of them at or near their prime, and all competitive as hell. 

Patrick Ewing added to the lore in an interview with FOX Sports’ Andy Katz:

“The other games against everybody else, we were just dominating. We were dominating everybody,” Ewing told Katz. “We were just that dominant of a team. But the practices, those were the real games. 

“Michael and Magic joshing to see who’s gonna take over the reins and Michael wanted to make sure that Magic knew that it’s his time. You know you had Karl Malone and Charles going at it; myself and David Robinson, we’re battling each other; Bird he was hurt so even though he couldn’t fully participate he was still on the sideline talking trash.”

RELATED: Magic Johnson recalls the moment Michael Jordan went from great to GOAT

Indeed, the Dream Team’s staunchest competition at the time was themselves. As NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh enumerated back in April, the Dream Team averaged a 43.8 margin of victory at the 1992 Games, with a 68-point rout of Angola at their high water mark. 

So it makes sense that the closest these guys ever came to sweating a game out was in practice. The snippet we got of the legendary Magic vs. Jordan scrimmage was enthralling, but man, who wouldn’t pay to see all those battles Ewing laid out above?

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.