Legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson dies at 78 ūüŹÄ

Georgetown Coach John Thompson

Georgetown Coach John Thompson


What you need to know:

¬†Legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson dies at 78 ūüŹÄ

Yesterday brought the sad news that legendary¬†Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson¬†died at the age of 78. The loss of “Big John” was deeply felt throughout the basketball world, as he was one of the most important and prominent coaches in the history of the sport.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson

Georgetown Coach John Thompson

His resume is impressive:

Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson
  • Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson
  • He spent his entire college coaching career at Georgetown (1972-1999) and compiled a career record of 596-239
  • He became the first Black coach to win a NCAA National Championship in 1984
  • 26 of Thompson’s players were drafted into the NBA
  • He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006
But Thompson’s legacy extends beyond just what he did on the sidelines of a basketball court. He was also a leading figure for the Black community and was a strong voice in the fight for racial justice — a fight that still continues to this day.
Our Gary Parrish penned a great column touching on¬†why Thompson was more than just a great coach, and why his loss hits a little extra hard right now. The whole thing is worth your time and helps illustrate how Thompson was ahead of his time, but here’s a snippet:
  • Parrish:¬†“While winning games at a historically great level, he stood up to the NCAA and to drug dealers — and stood against racial inequality long before it became popular. To lose him in these times, with protests in the streets, and while the NBA Playoffs are happening with the words “Black Lives Matter” on the court, seems unfair. Big John’s voice is needed now. He was, in his own way, a real-life superhero…Before he led Georgetown to the top of the sport, there was nobody for aspiring black coaches to point at as a man of color who could flourish in the profession and win the season’s final game. He sparked dreams and created opportunities for black coaches — first for Nolan Richardson and John Chaney, then for Leonard Hamilton and Shaka Smart and Anthony Grant. The list of black coaches who got jobs because of Thompson, who are wealthy because of Thompson, still isn’t long enough — but it is long. And it’s long because of him.”
    Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson
A number of Thompson’s former players and prominent members of the basketball community¬†took time to remember the coach with emotional tributes yesterday.¬†Allen Iverson, who was one of the biggest stars to come through Georgetown under Thompson, credited the coach with “saving my life.”
It’s clear that Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson¬†used the time he was given to improve the lives of others and make his impact felt both on and off the court. Rest in peace, Big John.

 

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