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Patrick Ewing feature – The Garden of Ewing

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Knickerbocker Glory.

Pounding the hardwood pavement like King Kong, scaling even higher than the twin towers of the Chrysler and Empire State Building in the NBA’s golden era of the 90’s, nothing was bigger in New York City then Patrick Ewing. That was until Michael Jordan roared into town like Godzilla, battling the king of New York, dribbling around the skyscrapers and taking a bite out of the Big Apple, making Madison Square Garden truly his Mecca. That was just the tongue-out-cheek of the greatest of all-time in the leagues greatest age of post Magic and Bird revolution and a decade that would lead to more than just the Times Square lights of N.Y.C. attracting all the worlds eyes. Jordan and his stampeding six-peat Bulls of Chicago may have beaten everyone but this was a post-age of big men that is sorely, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum uncertainty lacking today. In the 90’s Ewing was joined by the likes of the Goliath Shaquille O’Neal, the dream Hakeem Olaujawon, the admiral David Robinson and fellow Georgetown greats Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo who now pave the paint for fellow Hoya and Pacer great Roy Hibbert (possibly the only future of big-time big-men). This was more than just Luc Longley’s league and Ewing was as great as them all and belongs in the elite company of the best bigs of all-time to the heights of Bill Russell, Moses Malone, the Laker likes of Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and many more power pivots of the same game. He would be a winner amongst them all too if Michael Jordan didn’t engage all his potential rings with the changeing of the game.

Ok, New York fans let’s calm down with some Zen like thinking. You see Mike and Shaq’s legendary coach Phil Jackson is back in town to take the old team he played for back in his sneaker championship years back to the Knickerbocker glory days of Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier without the nostalgia need of a great Michael Rapaport documentary. That’s the style and substance the former Lakers and Bulls championship coach will hope to spread around the locker room like incense. An incensed town of die hard, John McClane like expletive throwing fans want more than just the Linsanity of the Jeremey Lin 15 minutes of souveneir store and tourist hotspot fame, or the craziness of J.R. Smith’s untied demeanour, or power player Amar’e Stoudemire taking it out on a fire extinguisher instead of the net. ‘Yippee Ki Yay’ this is a team led by the great Carmelo Anthony, the best player in the league bar LeBron James or Kevin Durant and right now better than the post-Jordan Kobe Bryant. This is a team that wants to prove to the Pierce, Garnett, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd led Brooklyn Nets that even though they’ve moved from New Jersey the city of New York is there’s, before the B.K. borough takes over like the Clippers over the Lakers in Los Angeles. This is a team that wants former Brooklyn bound Net owner Jay-Z to sit courtside at THEIR games, next to Spike Lee, whose Pacer hater dedication deserves more. This is more than the heartbreak of Reggie Miller killing them in less than 10 seconds from three. This is a team that wants to see ‘Grandmama’ Larry Johnson throwing the L in the same time again. Or Starks dunking before the clutch choke. This is a team that long for the toughness that they saw in Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason and see every day on the playgrounds of the Rucker.

This is a team that want the days when the Garden was Ewing’s back. When the classic and traditional M.S.G. floor shined not because the buckets of sweat he left on it but because of the heart and dedication that truly gleamed in the era of gold. The garden of Madison Square was Ewing’s Eden. The Jamaican-American is a Hall Of Famer for a reason and a champion in the hearts of the New York faithful. As famous as Jay Leno or David Letterman for his timeless late night show. As familiar in the entertainment age of the 90’s like his neighbour ‘Seinfeld’, the actors who made penthouse homes here, or the king of rap the late, great Notorious one himself. Another true B.I.G., being down with Pat like his coach Riley saw a sneaker kick in the door of legendary legacy for the Garden greats. Before those ‘Space Jam’ aliens took his power with a leg, shaking, hip dancing surge, this guy caught every pass and made every free-through. P-Ew never stunk it up, even if the perspiration he poured out on the floor wasn’t enough for his in need of an early shower Knickerbocker team that was a Serendipity short of a full dessert. You have to give it up for the cherry on top of the blue and orange who needs his just deserves paid like the million dollar man he became in the worlds most famous arena in the worlds most famous city. There may not be a lot of banners up their in that famous spirralled Garden roof, but you can for sure circle around and see the 33 jersey there like Abdul-Jabbar’s big-man forum in STAPLES. All together Ewing with fellow Hoya’s Mourning and Mutombo gave Washington D.C.’s capital college Georgetown greatness on a NBA presidential Mount Rushmore scale. If only it wasnt for those other wall-of-meat monsters in the key, because in todays Roy Hibbert day and age Patrick, the legend of Zo and Mount Mutombo would devastatingly dominate like if Georgetown put them on court all at the same time like some triple tower tall threat.

The Final Four’s ‘Most Outstanding Player’, the 2 time ‘Big East Player of the Year’ and 3 time consensus first-team All American’s ’84 NCAA champs classic college career is why ESPN named Ewing it’s 16th best college player of all-time and unless your Kobe Bryant you know these guys are on point with these polls. This is why the Knicks took the Kingston king with the 1st pick in the 1985 draft as the 7 foot 240 pound giant went on to be a Rookie Of The Year, 11 time All-Star, member of the 50th anniversary team along with the Knicks all-time leading scorer amongst many amazing accolades to the tune of a 21 point, 9.8 rebound and 2.4 block career avergae. A career that saw him scoop two Olympic golds in Los Angeles’ 1984 and the dominant, original, outstanding Dream Team of 1992 in Barcelona. Winning with Jordan instead of losing with him and now with both hoping to do the same, the current assistant coach of the greatest of all-times Charlotte Bobcats’s career saw achievements wider than his wingspan or the grounds of Central Park. Now just miles from Jordan’s old North Carolina alumni (Ewing knows the heartbreak of the ‘Big Game’ Laker legend James Worthy days) together with his friend and former foe, Ewing will want to bring the glory days of the 90’s back to Charlotte with more than just the teal and Hornets name. The former coach and player of the Orlando Magic (and coach of the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets) also logged time with the former franchise of the Seattle Supersonics (you can see from his press photo expression how much he loved that). Still through all the Yao Ming and Dwight Howard mentoring it’s clear that the former Rocket rival of Hakeem is still New York and the Knicks through and through. The orange and blue trim of his white number 33 will always say and sell that fact. Fade back with his ‘Fresh Prince’ hair as far as you want but that’s where his career definition lies more than the ‘like or hate Mike’ association, the losing, or the short-sleeve under jersey, traditional, trademark, Hoya wooping winning of Georgetown.

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Once a city like New York grabs you it never lets go and if your tough and tested enough to make it here, (like you then will anywhere) you become part of this Big Apple’s core. From the early dunking days where Ewing showed with one hand he could run and jam like a guard this guy was more epicly exciting and entertaining than those stung by the losses care to remember. Taller and stronger than Shawn Kemp, this man had his own reignman power, puncutating towards his own shower of success that was looking for a kingdom in New York like Christopher Walken’s weird run or LeBron’s other decisions when in Cleveland wine and gold. The New York Times of this man’s life was a broadsheet success even if it wasn’t a billboard one off Broadway. He watched over this city like Spider-Man and was a true superhero to marvel at between the landmarks of a town that was known by everybody. Anyone wanted to be and see here and Ewing did more than just that he made his own and everyones else new, New York memories. This is a man that’s overcome so much to become an outstanding force. From racist chants in college to his own fans calling for Jordan’s name in New York, Pat has never given up on his city, team or sport with Bill Russell like courageous character. He had his own era and it was bigger and bolder than his seriously silly but super slamming sneakers. Injuries, insults, critics or clinics couldn’t stop this man from playing his heart out until he sweated through his last NBA jersey. A premier player and not just in the post we remember the one jersey more 34 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 block line against Jordan Bulls and the Willis Reed like overcoming of an ankle sprain that showed his heart and soul. Imagine if the sole of this legend was healthy who knows how that seven game 1992 Eastern Conference Final and the ensuing run to Larry O’Brien would have turned out.

I guess the basketball God’s wouldnt have it for one of their own and a gentle giant with Goliath like greatness. Just like the twin towers of contemporary David Robinson and Tim Duncan shutting his veteran Finals run down in the Sprewell age following his injury, like Olaujawon’s Rockets did in the year Jordan took up baseball and left the league wide open. This isn’t as embarrassing as you think of 5 foot 3, Tyrone Bogues mugging him with a blocked shot…and neither is that. Besides Bogues is one of the greatest little men ever and Pat blocked down as many shots on defence as he dunked or grabbed off the rebounding glass. His career-high of 9 is as inspiringly impressive and influential as his points one of 51 (and the 11 assists for that box-score matter). Through all the injustice of injury and heated rivals with Miami (remember the incredible game-winning dunk over fellow Hoya Alonzo Mourning for the New York memories?), Ewing was more than just a player that could have had so much more if it wasnt for the age of Jordan in the 90’s golden era. A true professional and competitior who was more than just the stat sheet or record books he still made without the ring of the phrase ‘champion’. Now in this ‘Space Jam 2’ age of King James he gets the pleasure of watching his son Patrick Ewing Jnr do his thing in the NBA (as well as coaching him in the Orlando Summer league of 2010). Ewing athletics in the family and house Pat built couldn’t be prouder of the like father and son Basketball pedigree. It’s a pride that scales taller than any building in middle Manhattan. It’s bigger than what most people think or the game itself. He may have dunked over his Heat rival Alonzo Mourning in said game-winner, but when the fellow number 33 was diagnosed with a kidney ailment, his fellow Hoya vowed to donate one of his if needed like a true life-changer. This organ of the leagues jazz like new wave may have not had to offer his up but you have to give it up for a man who devoted his heart on to the court every single night. That’s the soul of this man and as the Notorious B.I.G. once said “and if you don’t know, now you know”.

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NBA

Millsap Mishap Could Keep Forward Behind 3 Months

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Usa Today 10318599.0

Poor Paul Millsap.

This campaign after becoming one of the biggest free agent pick ups of the offseason, one of the leagues leading Power Forwards has been put down on the medical report with an injury that could call him off sick for a quarter of a year.

The most reliable player over four periods has spent the bird share of his career helping his former Atlanta Hawks make it to the first round knockout stakes of the playoffs each year. But following the season where they didn’t make the cut of the second one, it was time for a change for the 32 year old number 4 who once looked to be the Utah Jazz, Karl Malone replacement Carlos Boozer didn’t turn out to be early in his career alongside former leading Point Guard Deron Williams.

And in the mile high city of Denver with a would be big-three of sophomore sensation Emmanuel Mudiay, dreaded defender Kenneth Faried and of course The Joker with the last laugh Nikola Jokic, these Nuggets in their new Nikes looked golden and finally past that baby blue Carmelo era (they may as well be as Anthony, now with the blue, white and orange of the Thunder isn’t even a Knick anymore (it’s ‘Old York’ now Knickerbockers)). But now like Ben Affleck looking at the ‘Justice League’ box office returns it’s time to ask the Nugs “why so serious” Batman as an injury to their versatile veteran forward of seasoned upon seasons of experience doesn’t exactly put a smile on their face.

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The All-Star was averaging a helpful handful of exactly 16 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists before tearing the ligaments in his left wrist in a 127-109 loss to the Lakers who themselves recently lost all dunking son Larry Nance Jr. to a broken wrist, but are thankful to be having him return after they cut the turkey this thanksgiving. Millsap and the Nuggets are looking at second opinions from docs offering the same sort of speedy recovery that doesn’t sap their frontline. But if they concur with the original diagnosis, it’s three months in a suit and tie and not to mention cast for Paul who will return in late February after the All Star break he normally never takes off.

The man with the three year, 90 mill deal helped make this outside eight seed threat Denver the new gritty, grinding Memphis of the West. Now without him the older than Richard Jefferson roster is thinner than the air up there in Colorado.

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Somebody Stop The Mask Of Kyrie Irving

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USP NBA: BOSTON CELTICS AT BROOKLYN NETS S BKN BKN BOS USA NY

Smokin’!

Even that phrase delivered at a perfect Jim Carrey pitch can’t quite put into perspective just how hot Celtic Kyrie Irving is right now. Especially in the Boston green, Rip Hamilton face-mask.

Maybe those three little letters would do more justice for this league leader?

You know Menacing, Versatile, Phantom?

No?

How about M-V-P?

Kyrie joins Kobe, former Cleveland Cavalier teammate LeBron James and the man whose about to pass him the Maurice Poldoff torch, Russell Westbrook to be an absolute menace in the Phantom of the Opera face-mask, leaving other teams dead on basketballs biggest stage. He may have fractured and broken some bones in his face, but that won’t stop him as he fractures and breaks the backs and hearts of the faces of all the other franchises he faces off with night after excruciating night.

Those who used to say it must be the shoes (and have you seen his best in show sneaker designs complete with shamrocks like Starbucks on St Patrick’s Day this season heads? Those halloween pumpkin ones were the spice), are now saying it must be the mask.

Sure the plastic profile guard makes for some meme worthy Pinterest fan art appreciation but this guard has made a point at hating it…the sweat inducing mask that is, not the love. These kind of covers can blind you, but like the concussed legend of Celtic great Larry, letting it fly like a Bird above the baskets in the Boston Garden all the way to the rafters (as he saw too hoops like 80’s girls earrings and just aimed for the top one), Kyrie plays through all the pain and frustration. Taking it out on the ball (like opponents on Lakers rookie Lonzo) and the other teams hoops that to him seem bigger than those ones Bruno Mars sang about.

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Take Dallas for example. Irving just masked all his pain by taking the Mavericks for 47 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists in the last contest that took the Celtics to a sweet sixteen straight. After dropping two games following Gordon Hayward dropping out of the new season before the second quarter of his opening game one even played out, everyone was calling time on these new Celtics as soon as Gordon turned his ankle counter-clockwise. But now one of the best in the association Kyrie is showing LeBron and them he’s just as good as them or anyone alone like this man from down under always wanted to prove. This definition of clutch, who leaves everyone else in the fourth with straws has already shown on a championship scale against Curry of all hot guards that he can take the last shot that really matters. Now forget the Most Valuable Player award for a waning second or even the time his dynamic duo partner in pine Hayward comes back, Irving has the power to dribble drive all the way to the crown on his own.

And it’s going to take more than a mask to stop him.

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The Wind Brings The 2020 All-Star Game To Chicago

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1973. And the first NBA All-Star Game to play in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois features the last All-Star game in the last season of two lasting Los Angeles Lakers legends. One man who scored 100 points in just one game, Wilt Chamberlain. And one man who was and still remains the one and only logo of this National Basketball Association, Jerry West.

1988. And arguably the greatest All-Star Game of all-time and an even better, best ever All-Star weekend sees Michael Jordan become Michael Jordan. M.J. scored 40 in an 138-133 O.T. A.S.G. win for the East meeting the West. But a day before all that he and the Slam Dunk Contest became even more legendary. As mere moments after storied Boston Celtic great Larry Bird asked “whose coming in second place” before raising his finger in victory before the ABA coloured moneyball ripped through the twine (no Nick Young swag), Money took off from the free throw line like a good doctor for his above the rim J and jumped over everybody including Atlanta Hawk wing spreading, sky-soarer Dominique Wilkins.

Now more than 30 years later after next years All-Star Game in the purple and gold city of Los Angeles and the 2019 one in the redeemed city of Charlotte, the 2020 and 69th All Star Game will be played in Michael’s old town of Chi-city. In the same year as Tokyo, Japan will hold the next Olympic Games, the game of basketball will go back to it’s 90’s roots and an inspired iconic landmark of hoop heaven that didn’t really have the same spirit in the seventies, but really Jumpman took off in the golden era eighties. So much so that the old ’88 All Star Weekend t-shirt is a historical thrift store must find for more than it’s 80’s Tron like, cool, retro logo.

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And with mid-February lovers big blockbuster basketball coming back to the city of wind like the river that runs through it, Chi-town needs this like out of towners need deep dish pizza. You only have to listen to the news or the Common album ‘Nobody’s Smiling’ (you know the legendary M.C. who used to wipe up Jordan’s sweat off the old Chicago Stadium hardwood has to perform at the mid-season classics halftime show) to know this classic city is marred by violence that burns through this second city like fire. The beloved Bulls have even become a “garbage team” to root for too, losing the big-three likes of last seasons Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade (who may even be on a farewell All Star tour once his hometown All Star weekend comes crossed off the calendar and everyone is united in the airlines center).

Now this team who relies on sophomore stud Denzel like Oscar hopeful movies will hopefully be back by the next few valentines. As the heart of the city in twenty twenty will want to see something as visionary as Sinatra’s kind of towns history.

That’s just the Chicago way.

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