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A closer call than the 1998 Belmont Stakes or the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election. We'll have to go to the video tape here.
Ewing: 7'0", 240. Reed: 6'9", 235.
Overall Stats/Accolades (Ewing)
Ewing: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 50.4 FG%, 11-time All-Star, One-Time NBA First Team, Six-Time NBA Second Team
Reed: 18.7 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 47.6 FG%, Seven-time All-Star, One-Time NBA First Team, Four-Time NBA Second Team
Best Season (Reed)
Ewing (1989-90): 28.6 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 55.1 FG%, 4.0 BPG
Reed (1969-70): 21.7 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 50.7 FG%, Regular Season, All-Star and Finals MVP's.
Reed: Eight Full Seasons, 30 Games in Parts of Two Other Seasons.
Ewing: 10 Full Seasons from 1987-1997, and 239 games spread over five seasons otherwise.
Patrick Ewing was a victim of unfortunate circumstance. He was knocked out of the playoffs by the best basketball player of all time on five different occasions. He went toe to toe with Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994 and was one John Starks three-pointer away from winning the Finals.
Meanwhile, the best and most consistent player on his team throughout his tenure on the Knicks was Charles Oakley. I have nothing against Oakley. He is the real-life John Shaft. But he made only one All-Star game.
Meanwhile, Willis Reed had Hall of Famers Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier to go along with cerebral assassins Bill Bradley and Phil Jackson. Don't forget the professor, Dick Barnett.
Yes, I admit that the competitive nature of the league was far greater in Reed's time, as fewer teams in the league meant a great collection of talent. He certainly had more help, but he needed it facing the John Havilcek/Dave Cowens Celtics and the Jerry West/Wilt Chamberlain Lakers.
But think of it this way: If you put Patrick Ewing on those 1960s and 1970s Knicks teams, are they still winning two titles? Yes. If you put Willis Reed on the 1990s Knicks, are they winning a title? No, because the team loses even more of an offensive punch.
Plus, do you want eight great years of Willis Reed or 10 great years of Ewing? I'm going with Ewing, the New York Knicks' all-time leader in points, rebounds, games, minutes, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, rebounds, steals and blocks.
Reed is 2B to Ewing's 2A.