Patrick Ewing was one of the most dominating college centers of all time. During his four years as a Hoya, Georgetown basketball became a national sensation, and he became the face of the program.
He led them to the championship game of the NCAA tournament three times. In 1984, they won it all, and Ewing was selected as the Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
He was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year all four of his years at GU. No one else in conference history has been given this honor more than two times in their collegiate career. Impressive.
The seven-foot center compiled 493 blocks over his four years as a Hoya, an average of 3.4 per game. Ewing won multiple national player of the year awards as a senior (1985).
But Ewing’s success did not lead entirely to popular acceptance and approval. In fact, Ewing was the target of an assortment of racist activities. Grantland’s Robert Mays recalled the severity of the incidents by drawing from Washington Post articles from 1983:
At Providence nearly a month ago, a fan raised a sign that said, "Ewing Can’t Read," and Coach John Thompson pulled his Georgetown basketball team off the court until the sign was taken down.
Nine days ago at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Villanova fans held up several similar signs. One raised bed sheet read, "Ewing is an Ape."
Mays said that "During pregame introductions that same day in Philly, a banana peel was thrown at the court when Ewing’s name was announced."
While many athletes have to endure the scorn of opposing fans, few in modern times have had to withstand this type of bigotry. Even if it was from a small handful of idiots, this type of behavior is inexcusable.