Classic card of the week


Patrick Ewing, 1998 NBA Hoops

Today we continue our exploration of 1998 NBA Hoops basketball cards and the manner in which they personally address the player featured on the card with down-to-earth street talk. With this Patrick Ewing card, however, we are treated to a special literary device called, “wordplay.”



Ew the man.

A common phrase throughout the mid-to-late 90s was, “You the man!” This would be directed at a particular individual who was serving his community well. This was a shortened version of the more exhaustive acknowledgement, “Hey, male—you are the best of all the men in present company, myself included! We are embarrassments to our respective families in light of your performance! Keep up the good work!” Here, NBA Hoops treats the cardholder to a clever case of wordplay when they utilize the first syllable of Ewing’s last name to say, “Ew the man.” Of course, this only works in literary form, as to verbally express the phrase would illicit head turns from average men who were neither "the man" nor basketball player Patrick Ewing. This would have worked, however, as a great sign to hold up at Madison Square Garden, were the sign-holder comfortable enough, morally speaking, to plagiarize NBA Hoops’ creative concept.

Heart of a lion.

And here I am, thinking Patrick Ewing had the heart of a human being. Of all the things to say about Patrick Ewing, that he had/has the heart of a lion is curious. He was eight-feet tall, it took him seventeen years to jog down the court and he was dripping in a pool of sweat in the layup line before the even game started. That doesn’t scream lion-hearted to me. That’s more like a giraffe heart. You know who has the heart of a lion? David Eckstein. Also, Lion-O.*

‘Nuf respect,

This is NBA Hoops acknowledging Ewing’s Jamaican roots: “Hey, Ew! ‘Nuff respect, mon!” as they pound their chest twice, then kiss their fingers and point them in his direction, the ultimate show of (‘nuf) respect. One can also read this as, “You have received enough respect. That will be all, thank you,” which is less complimentary, but probably more accurate.

SIDEBAR: When I was a senior in high school I went to a Knicks game at MSG with a bunch of buddies. One of our friends decided to wear his varsity lacrosse jacket from our all-boys Catholic high school in NJ, which was completely embarrassing for the rest of us. After the game, we were on the escalator headed down towards street level when my friend and I noticed that, riding right behind us was rapper Fat Joe. This was trilling for me at the time, and I managed to get his autograph on my ticket stub, which has since been valued at zero mics by Source magazine. Less exciting was our mutual friend, in his varsity lacrosse jacket and with no idea who Fat Joe was—the nerve!—asking Fat Joe for his autograph. It was the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me. The only thing that would have been worse is if our friend had said, “’Nuff respect” to Fat Joe as we parted ways. This story has nothing to do with Patrick Ewing, other than that he was probably playing that night, unless he was resting his lion heart. I wasn't paying much attention because we spent most of the game making fun of our friend for wearing his varsity lacrosse jacket. Thank you. END SIDEBAR.

one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players ever, Hoya National Champ and arguably one of the greatest shooting centers EVER.

The term “arguably” seems to cancel out the emphatic CAPS LOCK of “EVER.” And do we really need to argue that someone is “one of” the best at something? Just say it! Patrick Ewing’s is da man and his heart is made of lion heart parts and he is da greatest shooting center EVER, yo! For reals! Name a better shooting center, homeslice. And don’t be talking ‘bout no Mikan round here. Don’t front!

Patrick. We Believe.


I honestly don’t know why this is written as such as opposed to, “Patrick, we believe,” nor am I familiar with the implied surplus of Patrick Ewing non-believers at the time. Nevertheless, rest easy, Ew—NBA Hoops basketball cards has your back.

But you best to watch your front – GZA

Did you know?
The NBA named its 50 greatest players before the NBA was over.

*That is the biggest picture of Lion-O that exists on the Internet. You're welcome.

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