Thursday, September 19, 2002

Ewing to coach Wizards

The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — Patrick Ewing in a Washington Wizards uniform, playing alongside Michael Jordan? It probably won't happen — but it could.

        Ewing, introduced Wednesday as a Wizards assistant coach, said that if Washington needs an extra center during this season, he would consider playing, especially if owner Abe Pollin asked.

        “I'm here as an assistant coach. (But) if Mr. Pollin comes to me and says, 'Here's a 10-day (contract),' I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth,” Ewing said.

        He retired Tuesday, ending his NBA career after 17 seasons, 15 with the New York Knicks.

        “This is one of the hardest decisions that I've ever had to make. I'm still torn,” Ewing said. “Yesterday, I was so happy to get that press conference over with, and it took me forever to say that I'm retiring from playing. I've been playing basketball so long, and I still enjoy doing it.”

        Wizards coach Doug Collins said Ewing joined the franchise to assist him from the bench — not on the floor.

        “When you've played for 17 years, you can go through withdrawals,” Collins said. “If he can be teaching, the transition is going to be much easier.”

        Ewing will become the Wizards' fourth assistant coach, joining John Bach, Larry Drew and Brian James.

        “I've always felt that Patrick was a great teacher,” Collins said.

        Ewing won't just work with the team's big men. He'll help coach longtime rival Jordan, if Jordan plays this season.

        “I'm going to get on him the way he got on me,” Ewing said.

        Ewing's Georgetown lost to Jordan's North Carolina in the 1982 NCAA championship game. And Ewing's Knicks were knocked out of the NBA playoffs five times by Jordan's Bulls.


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