Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing wanted to head to the Bay Area following his senior season at Georgetown.
Ewing, who was the No. 1 pick in the 1985 NBA draft, was selected by the New York Knicks. The Knicks had won the league’s first draft lottery, and Ewing was the prize of that draft. He won the 1985 AP Player of the Year and led the Hoyas to an NCAA title in 1984.
But Ewing’s top choice wasn’t New York — it was the Golden State Warriors.
“We were all there, watching and waiting and anticipating, you know, hoping that …” Ewing said to SiriusXM NBA Radio’s Frank Isola, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Ali Thanawalla. “First I wanted to go to Golden State because Eric Floyd played there and he was a teammate of mine at Georgetown. And the next one was the Knicks. Once Golden State didn’t win, I definitely wanted to go to the Knicks. It was either between the Knicks or Indiana, and I’m like, ‘please let it be New York.’”
The Warriors ended up selecting No. 7 overall, and they drafted Hall of Fame wing Chris Mullin. Mullin proved to be a good selection, as he was a valuable player in the brief, but fun Run TMC era. Mullin scored 20.1 points per game, grabbed 4.4 rebounds and shot 51.3% from the field in 13 seasons with Golden State.
Ewing played 15 of his 17 NBA season for the Knicks, but he nearly made it to the Warriors during his career.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Warriors tried to acquire Ewing through free agency in 1991. Ewing had a clause in his contract where if he wasn’t one of the league’s top four highest paid players for the 1991-92 campaign, he could be a free agent.
Because of this, the Warriors tried to restructure Mullin’s contract so that he’d move to fourth and Ewing would slide down.
Dave Checketts, who was the Knicks’ president at that time, shut down the Warriors’ process, though. He told the Warriors he’d sue for contractual interference if they went through with trying to acquire Ewing.
Though Ewing didn’t win a ring, his career was stellar. He is the Knicks’ all-time leading scorer, and he was one of the best defenders of his era. He’s New York’s all-time leader in blocks, and he ranks seventh all-time in league history.