Scott Says

Patrick Ewing tells a good Michael Jordan story

Charlotte Hornets' associate head coach Patrick Ewing talks to the media after the team's summer-league squad finished their practice at the Novant Health Training Center inside Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.
Charlotte Hornets' associate head coach Patrick Ewing talks to the media after the team's summer-league squad finished their practice at the Novant Health Training Center inside Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

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.

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