Apr 15, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Orlando Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing smiles as he sits on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Happy Belated Birthday Patrick Ewing

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Jan. 16, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Former New York Knicks player Patrick Ewing on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

The former New York Knick great, Patrick Ewing turned 50 on Sunday. We followed his career since day one, and are waiting for him to get an opportunity to coach an NBA team, because we think the passion he brings is reason enough to get him a reasonable offer.

Arguably, he was one of the greatest Knick players ever, and team leader for over a decade. But the kind of leadership Patrick offered can sometimes be underrated.

Tommy Dee of theknicksblog.com wrote that Ewing was not appreciated until after he retired, and blames the media, saying,

“Patrick’s relationship with the media was cantankerous and before the age of social media and a wide range of information gathering, fans relied on the papers to tell the story. Patrick was moody and rarely outgoing. He was sensitive and didn’t open up about himself. That’s just who he was and yet somehow that made him a bad person despite it never making him a bad teammate. The guy was a warrior.”

The word “Warrior” is apt for Patrick. In fact, looking at the NBA encyclopedia, it’s the first word in his listing–

“Warrior. That is the one-word description often applied to Patrick Ewing. He was indefatigable and relentless in pursuit of an NBA championship despite being denied on an annual basis. Bold predictions did not always materialize and some took them as empty promises, while others as a will to succeed.”

An NCAA champion with the Georgetown Hoyas, Patrick came so close to becoming an NBA champion as well. In 1994, he led the Knicks to the seventh game of the the NBA Finals, eventually falling to the Houston Rockets and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Patrick career averages of 21 points and 9.8 rebounds per game are impressive, but even more, he was voted an All-Star 11 times, was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1986, and voted All-NBA First Team once and six times to the Second Team All-NBA squad.

Patrick was featured as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was a player on two gold medal-winning Olympic basketball teams, in 1984 and 1992.

But more than all the numbers, he led the Knicks back into prominence in the 1980′s and 90′s. Prominence not seen since he retired. Since then, the Knicks have been pretenders, not contenders, with the man in the middle that dominated, Patrick Ewing.

It’s a bit sad that many great players are not fully appreciated until after they retire. No disrespect to Tyson Chandler, who is a very good player in his own right, but what would Knick fans give now to have Patrick Ewing anchoring the middle of this team?

Happy 50th birthday, Patrick!

Check out our Patrick Ewing basketball t shirts. A tribute to a legend.

Story written by Doc Goodie. Doc contributes to Buckets Over Broadway and can also be found at TARNATION Sports

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