The Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and basketball community gathered on Wednesday morning to remember legendary Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson Jr. at St. Augustine Church in Northwest D.C. with some of the biggest names in the sport flocking to the city to pay their respects.
A number of Hoya all-stars were seen in the city Wednesday morning for Thompson’s funeral, arriving at the church to honor the Hall-of-Fame coach who passed away at the end of August at the age of 78.
Allen Iverson and Patrick Ewing, two former players under Thompson who were especially close to him, were the first spotted at the church.
REMEMBERING JOHN THOMPSON, JR: Friends and family, including Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, and sons John and Ronny gather to remember the life of the legendary Georgetown basketball head coach @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/ICeRh1Y8WP— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) September 9, 2020
Throughout his career, Iverson has been especially outspoken about his appreciation for his mentor and credits Thompson with saving his life by giving him a chance to play at Georgetown. Ewing, who now serves as the head basketball coach at Georgetown, also had fond memories of his former coach, calling him “someone who I consider to be a father figure, confidant and role model” in a statement he released following Thompson’s passing.
Iverson and Ewing served as pallbearers for the funeral alongside Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and other big names in Hoya basketball history.
In his 27 years at Georgetown, Thompson completely turned the program around from a struggling team to a basketball powerhouse. He led Georgetown to its first NCAA Championship in 1984, became the first Black coach to win a NCAA championship, was selected as Big East Coach of the Year three times and was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. He mentored eight NBA first-round draft picks including Ewing, Mourning and Iverson and produced 26 NBA players overall.
His passing greatly impacted the basketball community, especially former Hoyas, who have shown their incredible gratitude and appreciation for his impact on their lives and careers.