Starting C: Patrick Ewing

  • Stats from 1986 to 2000:  
  • 22.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 STL, 2.7 BLK 

For a time, Walt Frazier was the greatest Knick to ever suit up, holding the franchise records for most games played (759), minutes played (28,995), field goals attempted (11,669), field goals made (5,736), free throws attempted (4,017), free throws made (3,145), assists (4,791) and points (14,617).

Then along came Patrick Aloysius Ewing, the overall number one pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, to take every last franchise record once held by Frazier, save for assists.

Without question, Patrick Ewing holds the mantle as the greatest player in the organization’s history, nearly taking New York to the promised land in the 1993-94 season by pushing the Houston Rockets to seven games in the NBA Finals, bowing out by a slim margin of 90-84 in Game 7.  The series loss was no fault of Ewing’s, who ended the series with the most blocks in an NBA Finals series (later eclipsed by Tim Duncan in 2003) and the most blocks in a single NBA Finals game (8, later broken by Dwight Howard in 2009).

Ewing would become the sixth Knick, alongside Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Willis Reed, and Jerry Lucas, to be named to the 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, having his iconic number 33 retired in 2003.

Ewing lead the NBA in total defensive rebounds in 1992-93 (he ranks tenth all-time in the statistic, with 8,855 to his credit), and is eighth all-time in blocked shots (2,894) and ninth all-time in defensive win shares (81.4).

As the Knicks’ all-time leading scorer, Ewing was the 1986 NBA Rookie of the Year, an eleven-time NBA All-Star (1986, 1988-1997), one-time All-NBA First Team selection (1990), six-time All-NBA Second Team center (1988-1989, 1991-1993, 1997), three-time NBA All-Defensive Second team selection (1988-1989, 1992) and a Gold Medal Olympian with the 1992 Dream Team, pairing up with David Robinson as the world’s greatest centers in Barcelona.

Alongside his 1994 NBA Finals opponent Hakeem Olajuwon, Ewing was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Of all decisions made for this list, giving Ewing the nod as starting center was the easiest choice of them all. He was a warrior and heart of the Knicks for the late ’80s and the better part of the ’90s, bringing electricity back to The Garden for all of his years in blue and orange.

I am an English teacher, music and film aficionado, husband, father of two delightful boys, writer, sports fanatic, former Long Islander, and follower of Christ. Based on my Long Island upbringing, I was groomed as a Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks fan, and picked up Duke basketball, Notre Dame football, and Tottenham Hotspur football fandom along the way.