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Patrick Ewing Once Had a 'Twisted Neck' After Wrestling Michael Jordan in 1984

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2021

The Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan has words with the New York Knicks Patrick Ewing (33) during the second quarter of game 5 of their Easter Conference Semifinal matchup on May 12, 1992 at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 96-88 to take a 3-2 series lead. (AP Photo/Fred Jewell)
FRED JEWELL/Associated Press

Before Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing starred on the 1992 Dream Team, they made their Olympic debuts with the 1984 U.S. men's basketball squad. However, Ewing almost didn't make it to the Summer Games.

Head coach Bob Knight wanted to send the Georgetown center home because of some horseplay with Jordan.

"He and Jordan are roommates," assistant coach C.M. Newton told then-Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps, per Doug Haller of The Athletic. "They were wrestling in their room, and Ewing has a twisted neck."

Phelps, a friend of Knight's, was working with ABC as an analyst during the Olympics. Phelps insisted to the coach that he needed Ewing on the roster, and Knight refrained from making any changes.

Ewing averaged 11.0 points per game during Team USA's run to the gold medal and topped the squad with 18 blocks in eight games. Jordan led the team with 17.1 points per game.

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