College basketball loses another legend.
Georgetown great John Thompson passed away on Monday at the age of 78.
I never met John, but I have been in his presence. The man went about 9-feet tall and 450 lbs. Just a massive human being and you knew when Big John walked into a room.
He was a father figure to many of his players. Allen Iverson has said many times that JT saved his life. John Thompson confronted a drug lord who had befriended some of his players at the time and didn’t blink an eye. He was a big part of the Big East formation and subsequently ESPN. If you haven’t watched the 30 for 30 ‘Requiem for the Big East’, you should do so. I’m sure it will be on TV in the next couple of days.
But the guy did it all. Not to mention the time period he did it in. Thompson was the first black coach to win a national championship in 1984. His civil right impact was felt across the country. I appreciate the leadership and the vocal influence of today’s current athletes, but Big John did it a little differently. John Thompson’s teams were going to beat your ass, do it unapologetically and motherfuck you the whole time they were doing it.
Georgetown became a big man factory under Thompson. Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutumbo and Alonzo Mourning all played under JT, as well as Iverson. In his playing days, Thompson was a two-time NBA champ with the Celtics and was an Olympic medalist in 1988 Seoul, South Korea.
After Lute Olson’s passing on Thursday, the sport has lost two iconic coaches in the span of a week. Olson and Thompson combined for 1,377 wins, two national championships, eight Final Fours, 20 regular season conference championships, 10 conference tournament titles, 11 conference Coach of the Year awards and a couple of Hall of Fame inductions.
They say these deaths come in groups of three. Anybody got eyes on Carnesecca?