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The First Meeting In The Michael Jordan Vs. Patrick Ewing Rivalry

1982 National Championship North Carolina Tarheels vs Georgetown Hoyas

After watching The Last Dance, I expected to watch the '82 NCAA title game and witness Michael Jordan completely taking control.

As a true freshman, Michael didn't need to be the go to guy on North Carolina. That role belonged to All-American James Worthy who earned M.O.P. of the '82 tournament, OR even Sophomore Sam Perkins who earned the honor of defending Georgetown's insanely quick 7 foot freshman, Patrick Ewing. Like Jordan on his team, Ewing didn't need to step up and be the guy. Georgetown's guy was All-American and First-Team all Nickname - Sleepy Floyd

While Jordan really only made his presence felt in the 1st half through rebounding, Patrick Ewing came to tipoff ready to make a statement. 

That statement came in the form of FIVE GOALTENDING CALLS a few minutes into the game. Not an ideal way to make a statement, but TECHNICALLY the ball didn't go through the hoop for North Carolina until Ewing goes to the bench to rest. On paper, that's great defense. 

Ewing swatting the ball over the rim like it was a murder hornet wasn't necessarily the prettiest thing, but North Carolina FINALLY scores and starts a run the second Ewing leaves the game. 

The run continues until Ewing comes back

*gets another goaltending call

BUT 3 of the next 4 possessions go like this for Ewing: STOP / BLOCK / STEAL 

No big-man could transition the floor like Ewing. He'd be essential in the Hoyas 1984 Championship, but until then it was time for a young star on the other bench to emerge and make his statement.

Michael Jordan plays a lot of good basketball in this game, but Michael Jordan becomes MJ when he drives into the teeth of the defense and creates his own shot over Ewing, with his left hand. The next shot North Carolina makes is the game winner by MJ. During the time out Dean Smith makes eye contact with 19 year old MJ and tells him don't be afraid to take the shot if you are open.

Jordan was open and the shot goes down. MJ even said during his NBA career he looked back on the title winning shot for confidence.

North Carolina NBA prospects:

1982 Draft - Rd1/ 1st James Worthy - Lakers

1984 Draft - Rd1/ 3rd  Michael Jordan - Bulls 

1984 Draft - Rd1/ 4th Sam Perkins - Mavs

Georgetown NBA prospects:

1982 Draft Rd1/ 11th Sleepy Floyd - Nets

1985 Draft Rd1/ 1st Patrick Ewing - Knicks 

1985 Draft Rd2/ 26th Bill Martin - Pacers 

1986 Draft Rd1/21st Anthony Jones - Bullets 


Isiah Thomas won the NCAA Championship the year before with Indiana.

MJ didn't know it yet, but a national title was one accomplishment Thomas could never hold over Michael. 

Ewing and Jordan were 19 year old freshmen already leaving their imprint on the game of basketball. As highlighted in The Last Dance, MJ and Ewing met up again several times in the Bulls vs Knicks matchup and the results were just as good as the first meeting.

Full NCAA Championship game here 

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