As many of you know, I am from Washington, DC. Today, on his 68th birthday, I'd like to honor one of my hometown heroes--John Thompson. John is the former basketball coach of Georgetown University. He was the first Black coach to win a collegiate sports championship in 1984. He also coached the United States basketball team in the 1988 Olympics.

Mr Thompson is a native Washingtonian, as well. He went off to the NBA, and came back to coach high school basketball. He did so well, that he was approached by Georgetown University to coach college level ball. He was an amazing coach and under his tutelage, many pro basketball players got their foundation. He is responsible for launching the careers of such players as Sleepy Floyd, Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutumbo, and Pat Ewing. Twenty six of his players went on to be drafted by the NBA, including 8 in the first round.

He was also a very controversial figure. John preached education and demanded that his players, often from underprivileged families, take advantage of the Georgetown academic system. He talked most players out of entering the Draft before graduating. He often had profanity filled tirades, but he cared about his kids. And it showed.

Outside of DC, John was often criticized, but around town, he was and still is a hero. Happy 68th, Coach!

Your comments--priceless!!

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2 Responses
  1. Ugmolicious Says:

    John Thompson is a man that I admire. He stayed Black and Strong during a time when it was not popular to be either. I admire the fact that in the face of severe criticism and racism (the media called his team *The Georgetown Hoyas* "thugs") he stood his ground and became a model for his young players and the black community at large. Happy Birthday Mr. Thompson!!

  2. Sharon Ball Says:

    Jewel, what a great tribute to a great man. I had no idea it was John's birthday. What an amazing man!

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