Thoughts On the Harold Bell Story About John Thompson

The biggest college basketball story of the weekend has been Harold Bell's "takedown" of John Thompson Jr. in an article Bleacher Report published.  I read the story when it was released on Friday and thought nothing of it; it seemed a petty and petulant diatribe by a bitter and angry man looking for recognition.  But since the story has blown up over the weekend, I figured it would be worth actually addressing the substance of the article.

(More after the Jump)

First off, I don't know Harold Bell and I don't know John Thompson Jr.  Everything Bell said could be true, everything could be false, or it could be somewhere in between.  I cannot accept or refute any of his statements since they are all personal anecdotes or stem from uncited sources.  What I do know is that part of the article read like an interesting look into how college coaches are able to monetize their successes, with John Thompson, a self-proclaimed capitalist, being at the forefront of movement.  Another part of the article read more like "a letter from a jilted lover" than a reasoned argument, as someone wonderfully stated in the comments of the article.  And another part read, well it didn't actually read at all because it was a tangled mess of unsubstantiated rumors, random name drops and easily correctable errors (it's Mary Fenlon not Mary Finley).  

The larger point I want to make is that this article does nothing to change the legacy of John Thompson Jr.  People who dislike the head coach to begin with probably find Bell's article affirming and refreshing while those that support the Hall of Fame coach laugh at another writer taking cheap shots at the highly divisive figure.  I doubt anyone opened the article thinking highly of John Thompson and left feeling differently.  

To me - John Thompson Jr. is defined by his wins, record of graduating players, history of running a clean program, and legacy of developing NBA All-Stars.  The rest is irrelevant, especially when coming from a source that has held onto a grudge for nearly 40 years.

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