Patrick Ewing on Not Watching 'The Last Dance': 'I Had to Live Through That'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

NEW YORK - 1993:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls boxes out against Patrick Ewing #33 of the New York Knicks during a game played in 1993 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1993 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Millions of fans have tuned in to watch The Last Dance. Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing hasn't been among them for the most part.

"I had to live through that," Ewing said Tuesday on The Dan Patrick Show (h/t CBSSports.com's Sam Quinn). "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."

Ewing and Jordan were both members of the Dream Team that rolled to a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics.


.@NBATVAhmad:"If it comes down to the last shot, who's going to take the shot? Michael Jordan: "Me." Patrick Ewing: "Me." The summer of '92 with the Dream Team! https://t.co/qvO8KtRZaE

Otherwise, the on-court interactions between the two legends were generally one-sided in Jordan's favor.

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

MJ did this against three of the best defenders in the 90s... #TheLastDance https://t.co/vhc4zvWLEe

Not only did Ewing watch the Chicago Bulls dominate the Eastern Conference, but the New York Knicks were also often a hurdle for Chicago to clear en route to a championship. Across the 1980s and 1990s, here's how their postseason matchups ended:

  • 1989 conference semifinals: Bulls win, 4-2
  • 1991 first round: Bulls win, 3-0
  • 1992 conference semifinals: Bulls win, 4-3
  • 1993 conference finals: Bulls win, 4-2
  • 1994 conference semifinals: Knicks win, 4-3 
  • 1996 conference finals: Bulls win, 4-1

That outlier in 1994 came during Jordan's brief retirement, so Ewing didn't even have the satisfaction of besting MJ in the playoffs. The Knicks reached the NBA Finals twice while Ewing was on the roster, and in a bitter twist of irony, they were immediately after Jordan stepped away (1994 and 1999).

This was a running theme. The Knicks were merely one of a handful of franchises who found themselves subsumed in the story of Jordan.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' most successful speell in the pre-LeBron James era is merely a footnote because they lost to Chicago five times, including in the 1992 Eastern Conference Finals.

The Utah Jazz were unable to get over the hump with Karl Malone and John Stockton, falling in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals.

The Orlando Magic's championship window with Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway slammed shut shortly Jordan's return in 1995.

Ewing surely isn't alone in choosing to ignore The Last Dance rather than have to relive what it was like to play in Jordan's shadow.