Michael Jordan earned his legendary icon status while donning a Chicago Bulls uniform. Jordan lifted the franchise to sustained championship success. Patrick Ewing led the New York Knicks to become a playoff constant, but could never get over the hump. The possibility of the two Hall of Famer nearly came to fruition, leading Jordan’s longtime agent to declare the Bulls star would have given Ewing the championship he desperately desired.
Patrick Ewing’s illustrious NBA career
After a highly successful collegiate career at Georgetown, Ewing became the crowning jewel in New York.
Following experiencing a rough first two seasons, he helped transform the Knicks into a playoff constant. Ewing led the team to 13 straight playoff appearances, with seven 50-win campaigns, including three Atlantic division titles.
The sustained success featured Ewing earning recognition as one of the league’s top big men. He earned 11 All-Star selections, received six All-NBA Second Team nods, and garnered three NBA All-Defensive Second Team nominations and an All-NBA First Team selection. His stellar play gathered him a place on the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
However, Ewing lacked a championship on his resume, as he reached the NBA Finals twice. He lost in seven games to the Houston Rockets in 1994 and the San Antonio Spurs in five games in 1999. Michael Jordan and the Bulls got in the way four times, with three conference semifinals exits and a conference finals loss in six games in 1993.
Ewing never got over the hump, but that opportunity nearly presented itself as he almost teamed up with Jordan.
Michael Jordan’s longtime agent firmly believed the Bulls star could have filled Patrick Ewing’s NBA title void
Decades after Jordan’s 1996 free agency experience, the scenario remains an amusing “What if.”
During an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio in May 2020, Falk didn’t entirely shoot down that six-time NBA champion who could have left the Bulls to play alongside Ewing. The longtime sports agent voiced that Jordan could have filled that championship void in Ewing’s career.
“Anything is possible. Michael is an extremely loyal guy,” Falk said. “He wanted to play for one team his whole career. He was loved in the city of Chicago, he had tremendous business relationships in the city of Chicago. I think it would have taken something – it would have taken a disaster in the discussion with Chicago for that to happen.
“I wouldn’t say it was impossible. We obviously had to do our due diligence in the event that a disaster did happen, you don’t want to be unprepared. But I think the chance of him leaving Chicago for any team was unlikely. Now for me, obviously in 1996 representing both Michael and Patrick [Ewing]. If they both could play for the same team on the moon it would’ve been amazing.
“Michael would’ve given Patrick the championship he craved, you would’ve had the most dominating big man in the league and the most dominating wing player in the league on the same team. It had nothing to do with being in New York, it could have been on the moon.”
Falk isn’t confirming the Knicks as the landing spot, but he doesn’t deny it either. Nonetheless, Jordan could have had a much different chapter in his illustrious career had he left the Bulls. Beyond that, it could have given Ewing the NBA title he’s missing from his resume.
Michael Jordan cemented his GOAT status, while Patrick Ewing never found championship success
Before stepping into retirement for the second time in 1998, Jordan spent 13 seasons with the Bulls.
He established himself as arguably the game’s greatest player behind his dominance and championship success. Jordan accomplished it all in Chicago, earning six NBA titles with six Finals MVP awards, garnered five regular-season MVP awards, captured a Defensive Player of the Year award, and received 10 All-NBA First Team selections.
Jordan set the gold standard with the Bulls. However, the second championship three-peat almost didn’t happen had he taken his talents elsewhere in free agency.
Ewing forever remains one of the game’s greatest big men, but It’s hard not to think that an NBA title under his belt would have significantly elevated his status among the all-time greats. It’s not a shot at what he accomplished, but that is the one thing that escaped him throughout his illustrious career.