Ewing: KKK rally helped keep me from UNC

June, 14, 2013
6/14/13
4:52
PM ET
Patrick Ewing and Michael JordanBrian Drake/NBAE via Getty ImagesPatrick Ewing and Michael Jordan teamed up on Team USA and are together again with the Cats.
Patrick Ewing has teamed up with his longtime friend Michael Jordan on several occasions, from their NBA playing days to their post-retirement work for different teams. Earlier this week, Ewing was named the associate head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, a team Jordan owns.

Ewing and Jordan never rubbed shoulders on the same bench in college.

But it could've happened.

Ewing said he was “close” to accepting a scholarship offer from UNC, where Jordan attended. But something happened during his recruiting trip.

"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," Ewing said on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Thursday. "And I'm like, 'You know what? I'm not coming down here. I'm staying my butt back in Boston.'"

What kind of a rally? Ewing said, "Big rally, man."

Something else irked Ewing about being in North Carolina -- the noises at night.

"In North Carolina, you hear all the crickets," he said. "So they 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, I'm going back home.'"

Reflecting further on those days, Ewing said Georgetown was always top of mind. In fact, when Dean Smith, the Tar Heels' coach at the time, met with Ewing, he spoke highly of the Hoyas.

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

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