Print RSS Feeds Insider Magic Texts

NBA Legend Joins Magic Bench

By Nick Adams | October 23, 2007

When the time came for Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy to decide upon his assistant coaches, he turned to one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.

On July 3, 2007, future Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing was one of four assistants hired to serve under Van Gundy for the 2007-08 season.

Ewing makes a return to the Orlando Magic organization where he spent his last NBA season in 2001-2002, and is very pleased with his arrival.

"I am really enjoying myself here in Orlando," commented Ewing. "I am enjoying the organization and working with the players and coaching staff."

After spending the last year away from coaching working with NBA TV as a commentator, Ewing was approached by Van Gundy and jumped at the opportunity to get back into coaching.

"I looked at it as a good opportunity to work for a great organization," added Ewing. "I looked at the players and especially coaching a player like Dwight Howard was something I could not pass up."

Ewing was an assistant under Stan's brother Jeff with the Houston Rockets where he spent three years (2003-2006). Ewing was brought in and credited with developing Yao Ming into a more well-rounded center.

Much of Ewing's role in Orlando will be developing the young and talented Howard.

"The sky is the limit for Dwight," Ewing said. "He is an outstanding and talented player. I am fortunate that one of my jobs here will be developing him."

Dwight has already shown improvement in his offensive game, developing stronger post moves and a 15-foot jump shot - a shot in which Ewing perfected in his illustrious NBA career.

Ewing played in 1,183 career NBA regular season outings during 17 seasons with New York, Seattle and Orlando, averaging 21.0 ppg., 9.8 rpg., 1.9 apg. and 2.45 blkpg. in 34.3 minpg. He also appeared in 139 career playoff contests, averaging 20.2 ppg., 10.3 rpg., 2.0 apg. and 2.18 blkpg. in 37.5 minpg. He was originally drafted in the first round (first overall) by the Knicks in the 1985 NBA Draft.

Ewing participated in 11 NBA All-Star Games, including 10 consecutive appearances from 1988 through 1997. He was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1989-90 and to the All-NBA Second Team six times (1987-88, 1988-89, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1996-97).

At the time of his retirement, Ewing ranked among the NBA’s all-time leaders in several categories. He stood fourth in blocked shots (2,894), sixth in defensive rebounds (8,855) and 13th in both scoring (24,815) and minutes played (40,594). He also ranked among all-time players in games played (1,183, T-21st), field goals attempted (19,241, 12th), free throws made (5,392, 18th) and attempted (7,289, 18th), total rebounds (11,606, 19th) and offensive rebounds (2,751, 24th).

Along with his NBA success as a player, Ewing hopes to transfer his accomplishments to his coaching career as he aspires to become a head coach.

"I definitely want to become a head coach someday," Ewing stated. "I mean why do something if you don't strive to be at the top?"

Ewing said he loves coaching because it gives him a different type of satisfaction he earned as a player.

"The best thing about being a coach is teaching someone something and then actually seeing them going out and doing it," said Ewing. "That is very rewarding to me."

The Magic hope to reward Ewing with a return to the playoffs as the 2007-2008 NBA season kicks off next week.