It is easy to forget just how dominant Patrick Ewing was in college and during his NBA career. The lack of championship rings has seemingly softened the mainstream appreciation of the former All-Star. However, basketball fans and collectors appreciate his contributions to the game and there is a reason why Patrick Ewing cards maintain strong interest after so many years.
Despite his enduring legacy, many do not realize that the Jamaican-born seven footer did not start playing basketball until his early-teens and after his family moved to the United States. Patrick Ewing would quickly pick up the game and turn that into a scholarship to play basketball for Georgetown and Coach John Thompson. Ewing lead Georgetown to three consecutive NCAA Championship games, and the title in 1984. He was named the Naismith College Player of the Year in 1985.
Based on his dominance of the college game, there was no doubt that Patrick Ewing would be the first pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. The now infamous draft was the very first to be decided by a lottery. Despite no definitive proof, some still believe that the league and Commissioner David Stern "fixed" the draft so that New York would have the first pick. Whatever the explanation, the Knickerbockers were more than happy to select Ewing first overall. While he was plagued by injury issues during his first season, Patrick Ewing would go on to win the 1985-86 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Throughout his 17-year career, Patrick Ewing enjoyed both individual and team success. Ewing was an 11-time All-Star and and an Olympic Gold Medalist in 1992, as a member of the original "Dream Team." Although the New York Knicks were regularly in in the playoff hunt, and Ewing helped carry the team to the 1994 and 1999 NBA Finals, he was unable to bring a championship back to New York. Patrick Ewing ended his career with one-year stints on the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic, and retired following the 2001-01 season. Ewing was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Patrick Ewing may have retied from the NBA, but he has remained active in the sport. The year after his retirement, Ewing joined the Washington Wizards as an assistant coach. He has held similar positions with other teams since then, and is currently an assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats. His son, Patrick Ewing Jr., followed in his dad's footsteps, and played for Georgetown and the NBA. He was also part of a trade that brought him to the Knicks. However, Patrick Ewing Jr. did not enjoy the same success as his father and has spent most of his time playing basketball in the NBA D-League and various European leagues.
While Patrick Ewing remains popular among collectors, there is a general lack of certified autographs for the former center. The majority of autographed Patrick Ewing cards came in 2003-04 products, and those tend to the be most sought-after of the group. The following list documents the top ten Patrick Ewing cards available today. The cards were selected based on a combination of rarity, popularity and value. While no list can be considered definite, we feel confident that any of these Patrick Ewing cards would make a solid addition to a personal collection.
The Top Patrick Ewing Cards
The cards are listed in chronological order.
Another instance of a popular card that comes from a non-traditional brand, the first Star card for Patrick Ewing remains a fan favorite. Although it does maintain good values, it is not viewed as favorably as Patrick Ewing's Fleer rookie card, despite appearing a year before the Fleer card. The light blue border is not ideal choice based on the Knicks color scheme, but the full-sized image showcases the giant that is Patrick Ewing. Also, look at those short shorts!
Easily one his most popular cards, the 1986-87 Fleer Patrick Ewing card is the only official rookie card for the Hall of Fame player. The card is likely familiar to all basketball collectors as the deep checklist and timeless layout has become immortalized it the hobby.
Included in the same product as his rookie card, the Patrick Ewing Stickers insert features a entirely different design from the rookie and is the sole insert found in 1986-87 Fleer. The image that was chosen for the card is actually the exact same image from his fist Star card.
Not nearly as valuable as his previous cards, 1987-88 Fleer represents a great budget option for collectors to obtain an early Patrick Ewing card. While it does have a retro design, the simple layout still remains appealing after all these years.
The great success of Precious Metal Gems marked a huge moment for a card industry that was already in flux. These rare parallels are some of the most valuable cards from the 1990s and have been copied and rebooted many times. Limited to a total of 100 numbered cards, the first 10 are green and the remaining 90 are red.
Another monumental concept that still remains prevalent in the hobby today, Upper Deck Game Jersey cards were game-changers. Patrick Ewing was among 22 players featured in this set and all cards remain highly sought-after by collectors.
Few brands have revolutionized the industry like Exquisite basketball. It all started with 2003-04 Exquisite, arguably one of the greatest modern sets ever released. There are several autographed Patrick Ewing cards available in this product, and all are appealing options. The Patrick Ewing Exquisite Patches autographed card is numbered to 100 and can be seen below. Featuring a horizontal layout , the card includes a nice patch and on-card autograph. Limited Logos is another popular autographed Exquisite option for Patrick Ewing cards.
With a few more splashes of color, the SP Signature Edition Signatures is one of the boldest-looking autographed Patrick Ewing cards. The gold parallel, numbered to 50, is pictured below.
2003-04 Ultimate Collection features another autographed Patrick Ewing cards with a horizontal layout. The very simple design allows the image of Ewing and his on-card signature to be the main focus for the card. A gold parallel adds further intrigue and is numbered to 33, which is Ewing's jersey number. Another product, 2003-04 SP Authentic, offers a similar autographed Patrick Ewing card, in both layout and design.
Outside of 2003-04 basketball products, few other options are available for collectors to pull autographed Patrick Ewing cards. An emerging player in the basketball card industry, Leaf managed to secure Ewing for inclusion in 2012-13 Leaf Metal Basketball and collectors have shown great interest in the cards. Despite not being NBA-licensed, Leaf averted the air-brushed jersey routine by including a small headshot of Ewing, set above a jersey patch and on-card signature. The base card is blue and numbered to 99. Several parallels are also available, including Orange (#/20), Red (#/5) and Gold (1/1). Leaf took authentication a step further by including a complete database of every Patrick Ewing card they released.