The college basketball world mourned the loss of one its trailblazers this year when legendary Georgetown head coach John Thompson passed away in August. He was 78.
But as the 2020 college basketball season tips off this week, some of the game’s most important figures will pay tribute to the all-time great.
According to Myron Medcalf of ESPN, multiple Black head coaches will wear a towel over their right shoulder during their season-opening games to honor Thompson.
The Georgetown coach always had a white towel draped over him when he coached the Hoyas. As Thompson led the university for 27 years, the right-shoulder towel followed him everywhere. It became a symbol for the Georgetown leader and current college basketball coaches felt that it would be a powerful way to remember him.
“We’ve talked about the ways to honor him and his legacy,” one head coach said to Medcalf. “I’ll have [a towel] every game.”
Sources: Black coaches plan tribute to Thompson https://t.co/JwSIVyHAXs
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) November 23, 2020
Earlier in 2020, the Inside the NBA crew also wore towels over their shoulders to honor the late Georgetown coach.
The tribute will definitely be a powerful, yet touching reminder of Thompson’s impact on college basketball. In his time with the Hoyas, he won five Big East championships and the national title in 1984. He mentored some of the game’s greats such as Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson.
But, Thompson will always be remembered as more than a basketball coach. Throughout his time at Georgetown, he remained outspoken about issues involving race, particularly as it pertained to college basketball. Thompson often advocated for more Black coaches in the collegiate game.
The college basketball season tips off on Wednesday, as players, fans, and coaches remember John Thompson.