BOSTON (CBS) — Legendary coach and Basketball Hall of Famer John Thompson has died. He was 78.
Thompson is most well known for coaching the Georgetown Hoyas from 1972-99. Prior to that, he played collegiately at Providence College and played two seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning a championship in both 1965 and 1966.
At Georgetown, Thompson also recruited Patrick Ewing out of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Ewing would help Thompson and the Hoyas win a national championship in 1984. Thompson became the first Black coach to win a national championship.
Thompson once famously walked off the court before a game against Boston College, in protest of Proposition 42 in 1989.
During his time at Georgetown, he coached four eventual Hall of Famers: Ewing, Allen Iverson, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning. During Iverson’s Hall of Fame speech, he thanked Thompson for impacting his life in ways that extended far beyond basketball.
“I want to thank coach Thompson … for saving my life,” Iverson said in 2016. “For giving me the opportunity. I was recruited by every school in the country for football and basketball. And an incident happened in high school and all that was taken away. No other teams, no other schools were recruiting me anymore. My mom went to Georgetown and begged him to give me a chance. And he did.”
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