CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- How's this for irony?
Former Knicks great Patrick Ewing, who was passed over several times for assistant and head coaching jobs by New York, may make his head coaching debut against the organization on Friday.
Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford was admitted to the hospital late Thursday night because he wasn't feeling well. His status for Friday's game is uncertain. If Clifford can't coach, Ewing, the Bobcats' associate head coach, will take the reigns.
"I mean it is strange," Ewing said of potentially coaching against the Knicks. "The only head coaching that I've done is during the summer league."
"Like I said, against [the Knicks], I see all of you [New York-based reporters] here. I can see the writing on the wall right now," he added with a laugh.
Ewing has been an assistant coach for nine seasons. The Knicks have had several coaching staff openings since Ewing began coaching, but they've passed over the franchise's all-time scoring leader again and again. They did make him an offer to coach the team's D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, last season but Ewing declined because he wanted to remain in the NBA, according to a source.
On Friday, Ewing said his thoughts were with Clifford, not the Knicks.
"My emotion is all about Cliff and the team. Cliff is a very dear and good friend of mine and I'm concerned for his health and safety and well being," Ewing said. "We have a great staff assembled here. So if he doesn't make it then myself and the rest of the staff will have to carry on until he comes back."
Imagine the uproar if Ewing coaches the Bobcats to a win over the Knicks. New York will have dropped to 1-4 after two straight losses to the Charlotte. Wonder how Knicks owner and MSG chairman James Dolan would react to that one?
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.