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Patrick Ewing - (NBA photo)



James Loving/National Radio Text Service



Many of those who have the "Fried at 35" opinion, are flabby and beer-bellied, OR, carry enough weight for TWO or THREE PEOPLE. You know, a body FIT for radio. The New York Knicks' PATRICK EWING exemplifies an NBA player that can still get the job done with age and injuries. At 37, (38, August 5) Ewing is showing guts and courage by playing hurt with injured ribs and a sore Achilles tendon.


Tuesday June 1, 1999


Age discrimination exists in all walks of life. The sports field is no exception. If there’s one thing that tweaks my beak, it's reading or listening to some mental midget pundit saying an athlete thirty-five or over can’t produce. They’re ready to cart an experienced player off to the glue factory or reserve a burial plot for the accomplished pro. The detractors feel it’s time for the young blood to replace them.

It’s really irks me when that pea brain reporter is NOT speaking from experience since, in most cases, they haven’t reached that golden age of 35. They just flip from the lip about something they know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT. In my opinion, it stems from that persons own insecurity and ahhh…. INACTIVITY.

Many of those who have the "Fried at 35" opinion, are flabby and beer-bellied, OR, carry enough weight for TWO or THREE PEOPLE. You know, a body FIT for radio.

They couldn’t run up and down a basketball court for five minutes WITHOUT having to play the game. Tough, they’re not; except with the mouth. Imagine those whose greatest exercise, is exercising their jaws demeaning those who exercise their bodies.

The New York Knicks' PATRICK EWING exemplifies an NBA player that can still get the job done with age and injuries. At 37, (38, August 5) Ewing is showing guts and courage by playing hurt with injured ribs and a sore Achilles tendon. He is still feeling the effects of those injuries that placed him on the injured list May 5. But the warrior is back and has helped the Knicks reach the Eastern Conference Finals and his quest for his first NBA title.

Ewing’s playing hurt is reminiscent of Willis Reed's performance for the Knicks in the 1970 NBA Championship game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Reed came out to play with injuries, surprising his teammates who thought before the game that he was too hurt to play. It inspired the team to win that game and the championship.

WALT FRAZIER, Reed's former teammate at that time, is a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-time Team and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He won two NBA Championships with Reed [1970-1973]. Frazier accomplished a lot during his 13-year NBA career. So what was his most memorable moment?

"The Greatest moment was the 1970 Championship game in which we beat the Lakers," Frazier told me in a 1996 interview. "Willis coming out was very dramatic. It was like a Hollywood script. We couldn’t have written it better."

The key difference is Reed was merely 27-years old when he made his valiant effort. The age comparison is what distinguishes Ewing’s achievements. No, he isn’t playing the final championship game but by his playing with injuries throughout the playoffs, AT HIS AGE, is noteworthy.

In the first game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers, Ewing played 40 minutes (count-em, read-em and weep.... FOUR-TAY) more minutes than anyone IN THE GAME. He made critical plays at crunch time. He scored six points in a 10-1 run in the closing minutes to seal the 93-90 victory over the Pacers. His 10 rebounds were tops in the game. He was (now hear this Shaq) 8-for-8 from the foul line. (Are you listening Superman? EIGHT for EIGHT, including FOUR for FOUR at crunch time!!!). The MAN is playing hurt - like BIG TIME!

"My Achilles is bothering me but this is what it is all about," AP reported Ewing as saying. "I’m doing what I can."

Ewing isn’t wordy. He’s a blue collar, take the lunch pail to work type of guy. He can leave the talking to those who mug for the cameras and are now watching the playoffs on TV - like your Fabulous Hollyweird team. What Ewing CAN DO injured and OLD (if you will) is better than what the YOUNG PUPS CAN DO HEALTHY.

"Patrick was huge today," Knicks teammate ALLAN HOUSTON told AP of Ewing’s contributions. "He gave us every ounce of energy he had. For him to come out and hit those big free throws, you can’t say enough about that."

The 7-0, 255 pound center is averaging 32.2 minutes played per game in the playoffs. That’s just shy of his career averages of 36.4 for the regular season and 38.8 in the playoffs. Though not feeling great at almost 38, Ewing has put up some impressive numbers this season. He scored 37 points against the Pacers March 30th. May 3rd, he pulled down 19 rebounds against the Boston Celtics. And last but not least, he played 48 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves (YOUNGSTERS mind-you) February 25. The old man can hang.

Ewing was the Knicks first round pick (1st overall) out of Georgetown University in the 1985 NBA draft. (Let’s see KOBE (Bryant) was six at the time). This is his 14th NBA season. He has career averages of 23.3 points per game and 10.4 rebounds. He’s the Knicks all-time leader in scoring 22,736 points, rebounds 10,155, steals 1025, and blocked shots 2674.

He was selected as a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-time team in 1996. As a member of the 1984 Georgetown NCAA championship team, he was selected the tournament's "Most Outstanding Player." He won two gold medals as a member of two U.S. Olympic teams (1984, 1992). Ewing has won everything but a NBA championship.

Ewing is not a smiley face either. He’s all business. He’s the guy that former Georgetown coach JOHN THOMPSOM used to train and wean two future NBA all-star centers DIKEMBE MOTUMBO and ALONZO MOURNING. He pounded them then and he continues to pound them now.

If Frazier’s comments about Reed's Herculean efforts were like a movie, then you can qualify Ewing's deeds worthy of a the big screen as well, if, the Knicks can win the NBA Championship. If they fall short, it’s still a nice story. One thing for sure; Ewing’s accomplishments validates respect for talent, age, and experience over the toxic COMBINATION of IGNORANCE and YOUTH.

THINK ABOUT IT SAM PERKINS will be 38 June 14th and he’s striving to win his first NBA Championship after playing 15 seasons in the NBA. Perkins track record is distinguished by being a member of the 1982 NCAA Championship North Carolina team that also featured MICHAEL JORDAN and JAMES WORTHY. Like his two teammates, he was a first-round NBA choice. The Dallas Mavericks selected him fourth overall in 1984. The 6-10, 260 pound forward has played for four teams during his NBA career, the Mavericks 1985-84 to 1989-90, Los Angeles Lakers 1990-91 to Feb 23, 1993, Seattle Feb 23, 1993 to 1997-98. This is his first season with the Pacers.

Perkins and Jordan left North Carolina after the 1983-84 season. They were both members of the Gold medal winning 1984 U.S. Olympic squad. Jordan was also a member of the 1992 Gold medal Olympic team and also has won six NBA Championships. The 6-9, 260 pound Perkins is still a deadly shooter from the three-point line. He still can decide a game.

Throughout the playoffs Perkins has maintained his three-point shooting form making 9-20 (.450) through game one with the Knicks. As a spot role player for the Pacers coming off the bench he’s averaging 12.5 minutes playing time per game for the playoffs compared to 16.4 for the season. Of the three former Tar Heels, Perkins has played the most NBA seasons 15. Jordan played 14 and retired at the age of 35. Worthy played 12 NBA seasons and retired after the 1993-94 season at the age of 33.

Worthy left North Carolina after the 82 NCAA championship season. He was the tournament's "Most Outstanding Player." After his junior season he was selected first overall by the Lakers in the 1982 NBA draft. With the Lakers, he won three NBA Championships (1985, 1987, 1988). He was selected as a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary Team in 1996.

SAY WHAT???!!!: If NBA scoring champ ALLEN IVERSON had finished his college education this would have been his ROOKIE YEAR in the NBA. Iverson left Georgetown University after his sophomore year. The Philadelphia 76ers selected him in the first round, making Iverson the NBA’s first overall draft pick in 1996.

NEW IMAGE: Since the NBA is so focused on promoting the newer younger players, isn’t it time for the league to change their logo. MICHAEL JORDAN, considered the best player of all time, is deserving of the honor. He’s a player that every NBA fan can relate to. OHHH to be really up to date, include those LONG PANTS TOO.

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