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Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, NBA world mourn death of Georgetown legend John Thompson

John Thompson, Georgetown, NBA reaction

Icons from all levels of professional basketball are showing their respects after learning about the death of former Georgetown Hoyas head coach John Thompson, including current Georgetown coach and former star Patrick Ewing. Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo are just a few of the other former Hoyas to react to the news, and Michael Jordan has also weighed in.

Thompson passed away on Sunday night at the age of 78. To many, he was a monumental and inspirational figure in college basketball. Simply put, he turned the basketball program at Georgetown into a real contender. Prior to his arrival, the team had cracked the Top 25 just once. With players like Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and Allen Iverson under his tutelage, he went on to lead the Hoyas to 14 straight NCAA Tournaments, 24 consecutive postseason appearances (20 NCAA, 4 NIT) and three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985). In 1984, Thompson led Georgetown to an NCAA championship, becoming the first Black coach to win it all.

John Thompson’s family released this statement through Georgetown:

Ewing, Mourning and Mutombo all made heartfelt statements:

Iverson was another one of John Thompson’s great players, and the two shared a close bond. In fact, Iverson credited Thompson for “saving his life” in college.

Iverson was viewed as a the top recruit in his high school class. However, a legal issue left his professional career in doubt. His role in a brawl when he was a teenager brought a prison sentence of 15 years. Ultimately, though, he served four months and was granted clemency. Thompson was a key factor in keeping Iverson on the right track.

Michael Jordan’s 16-foot jump shot with 15 seconds remaining gave the North Carolina Tar Heels a thrilling 63-62 victory over Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA Championship Game. His Airness sent out a message in honor of Thompson:

Here’s NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s statement on Thompson’s passing:

Even the great Bill Russell shared a message in the wake of Thompson’s passing, noting the impact he had on his players:

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim sent out a heartfelt thread on his Twitter account after learning of John Thompson’s passing. Boeheim and Thompson locked horns in the Big East, but it’s clear that they shared a mutual respect for one another:

Like Boeheim, University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari sent out an emotional thread to highlight Thompson’s life:

Many others have paid their respects to Thompson, including Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal. John Thompson may be gone, but the philosophies and mentality he instilled in his players will live on forever. May he rest in peace.