Michael Jordan Was Disappointed He Didn’t Get to Face Knicks in ‘97 Playoffs After Patrick Ewing Guaranteed a Championship: ‘Oh, I Wanted to Play Them’

Michael Jordan faced his dear friend Patrick Ewing five times in the playoffs during his legendary career. The Chicago Bulls won each series against the New York Knicks, with the only time New York defeating Chicago in the Ewing era taking place in the 1994 postseason when Jordan was playing baseball.

Ewing is one of the best players in NBA history never to win a championship. He led the Knicks to the Finals twice, losing to the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. Ironically, Jordan wasn’t in the NBA both times Ewing made it to the Finals.

Even though Jordan went 5-0 against Ewing in the postseason, he wishes it could have been 6-0.

Michael Jordan wanted to face Patrick Ewing and Knicks in ’97 playoffs

Before the 1997 playoffs started, Ewing said the Knicks would win the championship. The 11-time All-Star guided his team to 57 wins in the regular season and the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Jordan and the Bulls were the first seed.

Chicago defeated the Washington Bullets and Atlanta Hawks to advance to the ’97 Eastern Conference Finals. Things were set up for Jordan and Co. to face Ewing and the Knicks. However, New York lost to the Miami Heat in the second round in seven games.

Jordan, who wound up leading the Bulls to the championship over the Utah Jazz, told SLAM Magazine in the summer of 1997 that he wanted to face Ewing and the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

“Oh, I wanted to play them,” Jordan said. “I wanted to play them. I still don’t think they can beat us. He (Ewing) can say a lot of things. I mean, so what? He guaranteed…it don’t mean anything. The worst he can do is lose.”

Losing is all Ewing did against Jordan once the playoffs started. His Airness had Big Pat’s number in the postseason and prevented the Hall of Famer from getting bragging rights over him.

Michael Jordan was 19-8 in the playoffs versus Patrick Ewing 

Jordan averaged 33.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.0 assists against Ewing and the Knicks in the playoffs. The Bulls legend was 19-8 versus New York in the postseason.

The Bulls took out the Knicks in the 1989 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the first round of the 1991 playoffs, the second round of the 1992 playoffs, the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, and the second round of the 1996 playoffs.

Ewing averaged 22.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 27 playoff games against Jordan and the Bulls. However, he was never able to beat his close friend, and it certainly must have haunted him.

There were rumors that Jordan and Ewing were almost teammates on the Knicks when the former was an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 1996. However, Jordan signed a one-year, $30.1 million deal with the Bulls and continued to torment Ewing and the Knicks.

The only time Ewing had the honor of being teammates with Jordan came during the summer of 1992, and both players put on a show.

Hall of Famers were on the Dream Team

Both Jordan and Ewing were on the 1992 Dream Team that won the gold medal at the Olympics in Barcelona. Team USA went 8-0 and defeated Croatia in the gold medal game by a final score of 117-85.

Jordan averaged 14.9 points in the 1992 Olympics, while Ewing put up 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Black Jesus may have prevented Hoya Destroya from winning an NBA title, but at least he helped him win a gold medal.

Ewing was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, while Jordan joined him a year later. The former finished his career with averages of 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds, and the latter averaged 30.1 points and 5.3 assists.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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