On This Date: Patrick Ewing’s number retired and Anthony Mason passes away

February 28th 2003: Patrick Ewing’s number retired

Patrick Ewing’s number 33 was finally retired on this date in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have not retired another number since this date. The ceremony was conducted during halftime of the matchup between the Knicks and the Magic. Marv Albert was the MC of the event.

The Knicks brought back some of Ewing’s coaches from John Thompson to Stu Jackson to Jeff Van Gundy. Additionally, Dave Checketts, Ernie Grunfeld, and Jeff Van Gundy were in attendance for the ceremony. Several of Ewing’s teammates were there including Bernard King, Louis Orr, Gerald Wilkins, Xavier McDaniel, Kenny Walker, Johnny Newman, John Starks, Doc Rivers, and Charles Oakley.

Furthermore, several Knick legends were in attendance including Cazzie Russell, Dick McGuire, Dick Barnett, Clyde Frazier, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere, and Willis Reed. DeBusschere drafted Ewing in 1985 and this was one of his final public events before his death in May of 2003.

The Knicks invited various NBA legends from Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Chris Mullin, Dikembe Mutombo, Charles Barkley, and Alonzo Mourning. Most of these players were Ewing’s arch rivals during his playing career. At the same time, Ewing, Zo, and Mutombo were Georgetown alums.

For the game itself, the Knicks won 118-110 in a double overtime thriller. Clarence Weatherspoon had 15 points and a career high 24 rebounds. However, it was Ewing’s former teammate Latrell Sprewell who stole the show with a triple double of 28 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and 5 steals. He made 6-8 from three as well.


February 28th 2015: Anthony Mason passed away

Anthony Mason passed away on this date due to congestive heart failure. He suffered a massive heart attack earlier in the month. He was 48 at the time of his death.

Mase made his home in New York after spending the first few years of his basketball career shuffling between the NBA and various international basketball leagues. While being a pivotal role player for the Knicks with his tenacious defense, he blossomed into a nearly All-NBA player later in his career with the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat. He showed adept point forward skills during those years, scoring, rebound, and pass the ball with ease. To an extent, Mase set the precedent for players such as Draymond Green having success in the modern NBA.

On This Date: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris

December 30, 2003: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris in a trade with the Houston Rockets

New GM Isiah Thomas made his first trade with the Knicks by acquiring Moochie Norris & John Amaechi for Clarence Weatherspoon. Originally a 2nd round draft pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Norris spent most of his career as a backup point guard with various teams in the NBA and the Continental Basketball Association. He spent the previous 3+ seasons with the Houston Rockets backing up Steve Francis.

Norris received a 6-year, $23M deal before the 2001-02 season. However, his production never matched his contract. Norris scored a career-high 8.1 points/game and started 26 games in the 2001-02 season, but his production decreased heading into the trade.

Amaechi never played a game with the Knicks. Isiah waived him shortly after the trade and retired afterwards. Amaechi never played a game with the Rockets after being acquired in September 2003. 

Clarence Weatherspoon fell out of favor in the Knicks rotation due to injuries, lack of production, and a glut of PFs. (Kurt Thomas, Othella Harrington, Mike Sweetney) Scott Layden erroneously gave Weatherspoon a 5 year $27 million contract in the summer of 2001.

Norris played sparingly after the trade due to the Stephon Marbury trade and the emergence of Frank Williams. Norris was ultimately traded back to Houston in the following year for Mo Taylor.