On the verge of elimination -- down 3-2 to the Heat in the 1999-00 Eastern Conference semifinals -- a 37-year-old, injury riddled Patrick Ewing dug deep, dropping 15 points and 18 rebounds in a desperate attempt to keep the Knicks alive. Playing on a weak Achilles tendon that would soon tear, Ewing summoned the strength to help cap an 18-point Knicks comeback with a series of clutch plays in the final few minutes.
First, his put-back slam with two minutes to play brought the Knicks within two. Then, with the game tied and just 30 seconds remaining, Ewing stole an attempted entry pass that led to a pair of game-winning free throws from Allan Houston.
Gutsy performances like this are why Ewing will always be considered a true warrior. Happy Birthday!
-- Ben Horney