New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing took a classy approach in responding to former teammate Charles Oakley’s criticism of his play against the Bulls in the nineties.
Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing has been making headlines for what everyone else is saying about him. The center, who led the New York Knicks to thirteen consecutive playoff appearances, has been a topic of conversation after being included in ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
After being called out by former teammate Charles Oakley for his failure to lead New York past Chicago in the playoffs, Ewing decided to take the high road.
"“I have nothing to say about what Charles has to say,” Ewing said when asked about Oakley’s criticism on the Good Show on Thursday. “He’s one of my best teammates. We went into a lot of wars and a lot of wars against the Bulls. So everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I love Charles Oakley. I still consider him a friend, but everybody is entitled to think or say what they want.”"
Oakley recently blamed Ewing for New York’s inability to beat the Bulls, particularly in 1993. The rugged power forward believes Ewing could have done more to pass out of double teams, instead of settling for contested fadeaways. In a particularly sharp comment, Oakley compared Ewing to an imitation version of Beyoncé.
"“The Bulls had Michael and we had Patrick,’’ Oakley told the New York Post. “It’s like seeing Beyoncé and going to see someone trying to be Beyoncé. If Beyoncé is in town, everyone’s going to see Beyoncé. If Michael and Patrick are in town, everyone is going to see Michael. They had ‘The Show.’ We tried to stop them and we couldn’t stop them.”"
Ewing and Oakley were teammates for ten years in New York, beginning with the 1988-89 season when the Knicks lost to the pre-dynasty Bulls in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Over their time manning the front court together, they faced Jordan in the playoffs five times, losing every single match-up, despite coming close to dethroning him in both 1992 and 1993.
Jeff Van Gundy, who was an assistant with the Knicks during the ’93 series against Chicago, defended Ewing’s legacy earlier this week. Van Gundy noted how Jordan started the ’93 series miserably, shooting 10-27, 12-32, and 3-18 in the first three games, respectively. The Knicks took a 2-0 series lead, but somehow lost by twenty points in the game Jordan struggled to make a shot.
In the six-game loss to the Bulls in 1993, Ewing averaged 25.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.8 blocks in 41.8 minutes per game. He shot 53 percent from the field. Conversely, Jordan averaged 32.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks on 40 percent shooting from the guard position.
Charles Oakley did his job on the boards, grabbing 10.8 rebounds while adding 8.7 points on 43.9 percent shooting.