Charlotte Hornets

Patrick Ewing almost ended up at UNC

Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan squared off as freshmen in the NCAA championship game in 1982. The two legends might have been college teammates at North Carolina, if not for a Ku Klux Klan rally and loud crickets, Ewing said in a radio interview with Dan Patrick on Thursday.

Patrick asked Ewing, who led Georgetown to the 1984 national title and three Final Four trips from ’82 to ’85, if he had considered picking the Tar Heels over the Hoyas.

“I was close,” Ewing said. “North Carolina was a very good school, but when I went down there they put me in that Carolina Inn and there was a big Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina when I was there. I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m not coming down here.’ ”

Thirty years later, Ewing is finally in North Carolina, in Charlotte as the Bobcats associate head coach.

Ewing told Patrick the Klan rally wasn’t the only issue with UNC, which beat Georgetown on Jordan’s jumper in the ’82 title game in New Orleans.

“And you know in North Carolina you hear all the crickets,” Ewing said said. “They stuck me in that Carolina Inn. At night down in North Carolina it gets pitch black and I hear all the crickets and I’m jumping and I’m like what the heck. So I (decided) I’m going back home.”

Joe Giglio