The 'Ewing Theory' is real but Patrick Ewing can count himself unfortunate to give his name to it

Created by Dave Cirilli and made famous by NBA broadcaster, Bill Simmons, the Ewing Theory contends that a team is a lot more successful when their star player is not playing.

Whether it was due to an injury, suspension, foul trouble or moving to another team, people began to believe that New York performed better without Ewing on the floor.

The 7ft center was the 1986 Rookie of the Year, an 11-time All-Star, one-time All-NBA 1st team member and averaged 21 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game over the course of his career.

He was drafted in 1985 and retired in 2002 after 15 years with the Knicks, one with the Seattle SuperSonics and one with the Orlando Magic. If you didn't know, or assume, already, Ewing never won an NBA title, reaching the NBA Finals once in his career.

His finals defeat came in 1994 against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets. Ewing's star team-mates included Derek Harper, Charles Oakley and John Starks - who shot 2/18 (0/11 from three-point range) in the six-point Game 7 defeat in Houston.

Getting back to the main point here, the best example of the 'Ewing Theory' was during the 1999 Playoffs. Ewing tore his Achilles tendon during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers and everyone believed New York were down and out without their leader.

After losing Game 2, the Knicks rallied to win three of the next four matches and advance to the NBA Finals to take on the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they were beaten fairly easily, losing in five games against Tim Duncan, David Robinson and co.

Simmons wrote about the theory in his 'Sports Guy' column, stating that the 'Ewing Theory' is applicable to a player if: "A star athlete receives an inordinate amount of media attention and fan interest, and yet his teams never win anything substantial with him (other than maybe some early-round playoff series).

"That same athlete leaves his team (either by injury, trade, graduation, free agency or retirement) - and both the media and fans immediately write off the team for the following season."

However, since Ewing left New York in 2000, they have not been very good. They made the playoffs every year from 1988 to 2001, reaching the Western Conference Finals four times and the NBA Finals twice in that time. This century they have made it past the first round once (2013) in their six playoff campaigns. The Knicks have been nowhere near the level they played at during the Ewing era.

A stronger NBA example would be the 'Baylor Theory'. NBA all-time great, Elgin Baylor, retired without a ring and lost all seven trips to the NBA Finals in his career. He retired in 1971 after spending 23 years as a Los Angeles Laker. A year later, the Lakers won an NBA title.

Elsewhere, New York Yankees icon, Don Mattingly, retired from baseball in 1995 having made zero World Series appearances. He was replaced by Tino Martinez - and the Yankees won four of the next five World Series titles.

So while the Ewing Theory can be applied to a number of sports stars, Patrick Ewing is by no means the best example of it.

READ MORE: Who are the 10 best players never to win the NBA Championship?

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