Just before the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery, NBC's Pat O'Brien offered one of the most memorable pre-draft quotes in league history about top prospect Patrick Ewing. "We've had the Mikan era, the Russell era, the Kareem era," O'Brien relayed from an anonymous NBA executive. "Now we'll have the Ewing era." Fast forward 15 years and the Ewing era never came. The 1990s ultimately belonged to a player who had been drafted the year before, Michael Jordan.
Perhaps no single basketball career has been altered more by Jordan than Ewing's. The two met in the 1982 NCAA championship game, where Jordan's North Carolina Tar Heels beat Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas. They went on to face each other five times in the NBA playoffs, with Jordan winning each series. Even Ewing's first NBA Finals appearance in 1994 is often viewed only through the filter of Jordan's absence, as Chicago's best player had retired in October of 1993.
These events were hard enough on Ewing the first time around. And so, as he revealed on "The Dan Patrick Show," he isn't interested in a second ride on that merry-go-round. He hasn't been watching "The Last Dance."
"I had to live through that," Ewing told Patrick. "I had to live through him and all the battles that we had to go through. And now y'all have a documentary to keep rubbing it in my face.
"I watch a little of it, then I shut it off to go do other things. I lived through it. I don't need to watch. I know he's great."
The stance is entirely reasonable. While most of us lead far less public lives than Ewing, I doubt anyone reading this would be overly enthused to watch a documentary about someone who consistently deprived us of professional success. Ewing will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players never to win a championship largely because of Jordan. He hardly needs a reminder of that fact.
Ewing and Jordan would eventually become close friends, and the Knicks even tried to sign Jordan in free agency in 1996. There doesn't appear to be bad blood. But no, Ewing should not have to watch his greatest professional failures play out decades after the fact.