Patrick Ewing is one of the best big men to have ever played the game. He is a New York Knicks legend and was an 11-time All-Star and 7-time All-NBA selection. He was also recently selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary team.
There is no doubt that many legends had a lot of respect for Patrick Ewing. In fact, Shaquille O'Neal recently shared that he "wanted to be like Patrick Ewing" and added that Ewing was the first player that intimidated him.
When I was coming up, my father always said "Hey. I'm gonna make you like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain."
As a youngster I used to practice all these old school moves... really old school moves. Then one day I was watching Patrick Ewing in Georgetown. Big guy. Mean. Physical. Throwing people around. Running the court.
I said "Dad, I want to be like him."
He was like "I know, that's why I got you watching the game."
So I'm watching Patrick Ewing, wearing the 33. As I became better, I wanted to be like Patrick Ewing. He was the first player where I played against him, I was actually intimidated.
Shaquille O'Neal is generally seen as having the most dominant peak ever for a center, so for him to be "intimidated" by anyone means that player must be very good. It is also quite obvious that Shaquille O'Neal had some Patrick Ewing in his game as a big man who was very physical. O'Neal has previously stated that Ewing is his favorite player, and stated that he wore 33 in high school and college because of the Knicks legend.
While Patrick Ewing never did end up winning a championship, he is still an all-time great that impacted the game on both ends. He is fondly remembered by many Knicks fans, and it is clear that others were inspired by his style of play.