- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Patrick Ewing has come out of hiding after being sighted about as frequently as Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest last season.

Ewing showed up in a courtroom in Atlanta earlier this week after signing with the Orlando Magic last week.

His message was agreeable enough. He feels the love in both cities, in the literal and figurative sense.

Ewing puts his pants on one leg at a time in Orlando. He takes his pants off one leg at a time in Atlanta.

Ewing turns 39 next month as he nears the end of a Hall of Fame basketball career that includes about 10 visits to a strip bar called the Gold Club.

The visits prompted Ewing's appearance in Atlanta, where prosecutors contend the Gold Club was a front for organized crime.

It seems Ewing, along with other celebrity athletes, provided the club with a certain gloss.

He is guilty of nothing, except perhaps poor judgment, as he practiced his version of safe sex.

As Ewing testified, he walked into the place, the owner and manager gave him a big hug, and the dancers did the rest in a special room.

Ewing told the jury that either the owner or the manager instructed the dancers to "go ahead and take care of him," which they did in oral fashion as the owner and manager sat next to the 7-footer and got an eyeful.

This beats a courtside seat at an arena, depending on your point of view. This also redefines the meaning of peep show.

This stuff never happens to the average Joe. The average Joe does not walk into a strip bar and wind up in the enthrall of skimpily clad babes, which probably is just as well.

How many men would be strong enough, disciplined enough and tough enough to turn down this sort of personal attention?

The exchange with the dancers did not cost Ewing a penny, only about 25 minutes' worth of embarrassing testimony.

It is often said that nobody loves Goliath, but Ewing is there to show otherwise.

He shows up to a club and the fireworks commence. There is no dinner, no small talk, no movie, no flowers and no box of chocolates. He is in the mood, they are in the mood, and the rest is legal history.

Pass the smelling salts. The stenographer has fainted.

NBA action, it truly is fantastic.

They love this game. They also love the goings-on at the Gold Club.

At least there was no biting, and not to raise anew the issue of Marv Albert and his taste in lingerie.

As Ewing might have testified, if prodded, the rallying cry around the NBA is, "Remember the thin Shawn Kemp."

Next to Kemp comes a warning: Whatever you do, be careful out there. If need be, bring along two buddies to watch. They could be character witnesses in the future.

Kemp, of course, leads the NBA in paternity tests, baby showers, alimony payments and lots of Pampers. He would go by "Big Daddy" if Dan Wilkinson didn't already have the nickname.

Kemp has seven children by six women, at last count, plus a weight problem and a warm bed at a drug rehabilitation center. The latter undoubtedly qualifies as a retreat in his case.

Ewing testified that he was serviced on two occasions at the club, meaning that on his approximately eight other visits, he left the establishment feeling frustrated.

Fortunately, this did not jeopardize his relationship with the owner and manager. He would see them on occasion at a game and acknowledge their bond.

"I'd wave when I saw them," Ewing told the jury.

It was the least he could do.

"A couple of times, they asked me for autographs for their kids," he said.

Ewing is not a bad guy, just a guy, and not necessarily the busiest guy.

Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have warmed up with 20,000 women by the time he was 52. The counting alone must have been exhausting.

Magic Johnson did not count the number of women with whom he had shared an intimate moment, except to say it was a high number, a really, really high number, and yes, they were all women.

By these standards, Ewing is almost a lightweight after going a modest 2-for-10 at the strip club.

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