Olympic Diaries (1992): Patrick Ewing Speaks on Why It’s the “Perfect Time” to Relaunch Ewing Athletics

“It?s back. It?s coming out fresh. It?s a great shoe. I endorse it, and the price point is right. The retros are just like the originals, quality-wise. I want people to come out and see the quality for themselves.” – Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing has returned.

Sure, it’s been years on top of years since he was the center of attention in every Knicks scenario you can think of – like the Knicks vs. Bulls postseason match ups that were undoubtedly some of the most competitive and entertaining games ever, or the Knicks vs. Heat playoff battles that wouldn’t be complete without 5-10 technical fouls, 2-3 fights and 3-4 ejections – whether he was directly involved or not. 50 years of age is literally right around the corner (he turns 50 Sunday), and his reign as New York’s hero is 12 years behind him. Yet, in 2012, all it took was a mention of the Ewing Athletics brand returning to get Patrick’s name buzzing as if he himself was reentering the center-starved NBA.

As the 1992 installment of our Olympic Diaries series, Patrick Ewing discusses the historic launch of Ewing Athletics, the anticipated relaunch of the brand, memorable moments in the NBA and as part of the Dream Team, and a special trend he made hot while at Georgetown.

Ewing Athletics 33 Hi Retro Red/Black

Nice Kicks: Let’s go back in time to when this first started. After you and adidas went in different directions, what prompted you to start your own brand?

Patrick Ewing: Well, I played in adidas for two years, specifically during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. adidas and I had a difference of opinion, and I thought it was time to move on at that point. I met a guy named Roberto Mueller, who started the PONY footwear brand back in the day. He convinced me to start, along with him, my own shoe company, which was Ewing Athletics. He had some great ideas from jump, so I thought about it long and hard and we started to invent it.

Nice Kicks: Why relaunch the Ewing Athletics brand now and kick it off with the 33 Hi?

Patrick Ewing: So many people have came up to me over the years saying, ‘Man, I loved your shoes, and I wore them a lot when I was a little kid. When are they coming back?’ So, I just figured it was about that time to bring them back. I held off for a long time, and had a lot of people in my ear begging me to bring them back, but I think it’s time now to bring them back and give the public what they want. I really liked every single one of my shoes, including the 33 Hi, and at some point each and every one will come back depending on how the 33 Hi Retro is received.

Nice Kicks: What influenced your move from Next Sports to the distribution team you’re working with now?

Patrick Ewing: Well, Next Sports was one of the distributors of my shoe, and they did some things, such as putting their name on the shoe when it wasn’t supposed to be there, that I didn’t like. Ewing Athletics was the parent company, and so, the reason I switched to the new people is because they’ve been trying to get me to come out with my shoes for the longest. They’re really good people and fans of my brand.

Nice Kicks: This is a time where it seems low-cut shoes are the norm, but that’s totally different from when you were in the prime of your career. Why is it a good time to bring a high-top back in the midst of this low-top craze?

Patrick Ewing: Back then, people wouldn’t dare play in low-top shoes. If you were to wear a low-top shoe back then, you’d probably have a lot of ankle problems. Most big guys stick to high-top shoes, but a lot of guys today, like Kobe and LeBron, wear low-cut shoes. I’ve always preferred the high cut, and in my opinion high-tops are coming back. It’s all about the ankle support.

Vintage Ewing Athletics Brand poster

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