The basketball world is in mourning today following the passing of Georgetown coaching legend John Thompson. To commemorate Thompson, the cast of Inside The NBA had a special tribute for him today.
At the open of the Monday broadcast, show host Ernie Johnson gave a touching tribute to Thompson that had Charles Barkley almost in tears. After he was done, he put a towel over his right shoulder – a look Thompson coined – and passed towels to his fellow analysts.
Barkley praised Thompson not only for his coaching acumen, but for how he engaged with his former players. He said he admired Thompson for talking to people about “becoming great Black men.”
Shaquille O’Neal stated his admiration for Thompson too. He said that if he hadn’t been enamored with LSU, he could have seen himself playing for Thompson at Georgetown.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 31, 2020
Drafted by the Boston Celtics out of Providence in 1964, John Thompson’s NBA playing career was short but sweet. He won two NBA titles backing up Bill Russell at center before retiring after just two seasons.
Thompson quickly turned his eyes to coaching, and after taking over at Georgetown in 1972, he turned it into a powerhouse. In 27 years with the Hoyas, Thompson led them to 20 NCAA Tournaments, eight Sweet 16s, seven Elite Eights, three Final Fours, two national title games and won the 1984 national title.
On top of building a winning program, Thompson coached some future NBA all-time greats. Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo all became stars after learning from him.
Our hearts go out to John Thompson’s family and loved ones.