In Sunday’s newspaper and online, I will have an in-depth interview with Patrick Ewing, the former hall of fame player who is now the associate head coach for a Charlotte Hornets team on the verge of the playoffs.
Ewing, 53, told a lot of good stories, including this one about Michael Jordan. Here is a sample from the longer question-and-answer session I did with Ewing that will be published in full on Sunday.
Q: I know in the early 1980s you took a recruiting visit to UNC on the same weekend that Michael Jordan -- your old NBA rival and friend and now the Hornets owner -- was on a visit, too. How close did you come to going to Chapel Hill?
A. I did go on a visit and Michael was there at the same time. That was the first time I met him. Michael talked trash that day and he still hasn't stopped.
UNC was one of the six schools that I considered. But when I was there, I remember Dean Smith telling me: 'If you don't come here, I think you should go to Georgetown.'
Georgetown was my first choice. UCLA was my second choice. If I had come to North Carolina, though, can you imagine? Me, James Worthy and Sam Perkins on the front line and Michael in the backcourt?! Dominant.
Q. Roy Williams told me a story once about that same recruiting visit to UNC that involved you and Jordan getting into a trash-talking pickup game on the spur of the moment at a campus gym. Is that true? And if so, who won?
A. It is true. We played in street clothes because Michael just kept trash-talking. I don't even remember who won, but I do remember dunking on him.
Q. If you and Michael played one-on-one right now, who would win?
A. He would. Right now I think he's in a little bit better shape than I am. He has been on a mission lately trying to get his weight down, and he's succeeding. Meanwhile my knees are bothering me and I haven't been able to do the same thing.