Ku Klux Klan prevented Patrick Ewing from attending UNC in 80’s


patrick-ewing-suitOne of the greatest NBA centers of all time, Patrick Ewing, who emerged from Georgetown and was drafted by the New York Knicks, was very nearly a Tar Heel.

In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday morning, Ewing revealed that he was all set to attend the University of North Carolina, until an incident on his official visit changed his mind, USA Today reported.

This was back in 1980 when Ewing was still a senior at the Cambridge Ringe and Latin school and was being heavily recruited to play at UNC, where he wanted to join coach Dean Smith.

That all changed when he went down to Chapel Hill for his visit.

“I was close. North Carolina was a very good school, but you know, when I went down there they put me in that Carolina Inn and there was a big Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina when I was there. And I was like, you know, I’m not coming down here. I’m staying my butt back in Boston,” Ewing recalled.

Ewing settled on Georgetown when coach Smith recommended coach John Thompson, one of Smith’s good friends.

After 15 seasons with the Knicks, Ewing played one year in Seattle and one in Orlando before retiring. An 11-time All-Star with the Knicks, Ewing worked as an NBA assistant coach for eight seasons after his playing career.

Ewing appeared in 1183 career NBA games, starting in 1122 of them. He holds career averages of 21 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 2.4 bpg in 34.3 minutes of playing time.

He averaged career high 28.6 ppg for the Knicks during thre 1989-90 NBA season, and career high in rebounds (12.1 rpg) during the 1992-93 season.

The Knicks retired Ewing’s No. 33 jersey in 2003. Ewing was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Ewing, now an assistant for the Orlando Magic, is being considered for several NBA coaching positions. His son tweeted out some disparaging words yesterday when Jason Kidd was hired for the New Jersey Nets head coaching position and not his father.

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