Twelve years ago today, Patrick Ewing was brought into the company of Knicks legends. He joined the company of Walt Frazier, Dick Barnet, Earl Monroe, Dick McGuire, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley, and Red Holzman. Patrick Ewing is the only man among these greats without a championship ring. The Knicks celebrated the retirement of Ewing’s number 33 with Patrick Ewing Night. Check out the video below.
Ewing’s number 33 is the last jersey number retired by the Knicks; no other number has been brought up into the rafters since Patrick Ewing Night in 2003. No other Knick has scored more points, played more games, grabbed more rebounds, stolen more balls, blocked more shots, played more minutes, achieved more field goals, or scored more free throws than Patrick Ewing. Many people say, Knick fan or not, that Patrick Ewing was one of the most consistent players in NBA history. He would always have a good half and bad half, but during his good half he would always score his points and get his ~10 rebounds.
The number 33 was retired at MSG twelve years ago today and for this occasion I’d like to detail Ewing’s sneaker history. It all started in the early 80s, 81-85 specifically, which were Ewing’s Georgetown years. When he met former president Ronald Reagan in 1984 for a Sports Illustrated cover, he was wearing Nikes. Ewing helped make the Nike Terminator a classic.
After leaving Georgetown for New York, Ewing signed an endorsement deal with adidas. He rocked some of the adidas classics of the time including the Conductor and Attitude. The adidas promotional posters of the time featuring Ewing were also great.
In 1991, Patrick Ewing left adidas to create his own brand, Ewing Athletics. Next Sports was behind the licensing deal and they produced shoes under the Ewing Athletics name until 1996. At the time, Ewing creating his own brand was huge news, something lost to history when looking back from today. Their last shoe, the Ewing Empire, was what Ewing wore in the 1996 All-Star Game and the 95-96 season. While the retail version was a mid, the version Ewing wore was a high custom made for him (EwingAthletics.com). The shoe was a great send off for the brand; it featured zigzagging everywhere, from the stitching on the tongue to the bright orange zigzag on the upper to overlay panels at the top of the ankle.
The brand eventually went under due to internal struggles and afterwards Ewing wore various Nike models like the Air Total Max II and the Air Big Flyer Force. However, in a little over five years, Ewing Athletics produced many phenomenal silhouettes that could not and can not be confused with shoes from any other footwear brand. The brand’s resurgence has made many Ewing fans very happy. It would be awesome to see some of the crazier models like the Eclipse Hi (USA), Extreme Hi, and Wrap Hi return. One thing I miss from Ewing Athletics is the naming; today, brands don’t name sneakers the way they did back then. Models like the Orion, Rogue, Anode, Kross, these are bold names. Tell that to generics like the Kobe 9, LeBron XII, etc..
Below is almost every model Ewing Athletics produced. One thing to note when looking at the originals is how incredibly tall and straight the backs of the shoes were; no basketball high top produced today is that straight. Check out the absolutely gorgeous leather on some of these silhouettes. Take a look at this feature on an awesome Ewing collector Dave Goldberg. Which Ewing model would you like to see return? Let me know in the comments below.
I love sneakers. Editor in Chief at WearTesters.com.
Formerly: PR for StreetSmartNet, Editor at SneakerHistory.com.
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