NBA: Patrick Ewing Didn't Attend UNC Because of Ku Klux Klan

Hall-of-Fame center Patrick Ewing said he didn't commit to the University of North Carolina because of the Ku Klux Klan.

Jun 13 2013, 9:38pm CDT | by

NBA: Patrick Ewing Didn't Attend UNC Because of Ku Klux Klan
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hall-of Fame center Patrick Ewing says he didn't commit to the University of North Carolina because of the Ku Klux Klan

Yahoo! Sports' Dan Devine notes Ewing and fellow NBA great Michael Jordan almost became teammates as Tar Heels. However, while on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday to discuss his new job as Charlotte Bobcats assistant coach, Ewing, who played high school basketball in Cambridge, Mass., divulged he was thrown off by the Ku Klux Klan during his visit to the University of North Carolina.

"You know, I was close. North Carolina was a very good school, but 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 what?  I'm not coming down here. I'm staying my butt back in Boston."

Patrick tried to confirm the information he just gathered from Ewing, by re-stating that the reason the prized center didn't go to UNC is because of the KKK rally. Ewing responded by saying, "Big rally, man."

Ewing also found himself annoyed with the night-time sounds in North Carolina. 

"And you know in North Carolina, you hear all the crickets?  So they had me, stuck me in that Carolina Inn, and nights down in North Carolina, it gets pitch black, and I'd hear all the crickets. And I'm jumping, and I'm like, 'What the heck?' So I said, 'No, no, I'm going back.'"

With Ewing's mind apparently made up back then, he remembered the advice former Tar Heels coach Dean Smith gave him which was to attend Georgetown University under the tutelage of John Thompson. 

"My first choice was Georgetown, and that was my last visit; my second choice was UCLA, and that was my first visit. North Carolina was a great school, and they had an outstanding coach in Deam Smith and they had some outstanding talent. But even Dean Smith told me, he said, 'Patrick, if you're not going to come to North Carolina, you shoud go to Georgetown. Coach Thompson's an outstanding coach, and you will learn a lot from him.'"

Ewing wound up attending Georgetown, and the rest, as they say, is history

He reached an agreement on June 12 to become the associate head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats under Steve Clifford. He will also be working for friend and former rival Jordan, who is Charlotte's owner. 

 
 
 


Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

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