The first of several memorial services for John Thompson, Jr., was held today and the invite-only celebration of his life brought together quite a few famous Georgetown Hoyas.
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
From the videos above and below, pall bearers appear to be Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Michael Jackson. There is a virtual service planned by Georgetown for October 3rd, as well as a promise for a live memorial event for “Big John” when the COVID-19 issues smooth out.
More articles and commentary on the legend’s life keeps pouring out. “New” stories about his faith, his youth, and his inspirations keep surfacing.
Here are the links:
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 [St. Augustine Church in Northwest D.C.].
John Thompson will forever be linked to Georgetown basketball.— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) September 9, 2020
But those who knew him also reveal a deeply religious and private man, one who faced racism at every turn of life, even at the university with which he would become so closely identified. https://t.co/DiFLlwEwET
“He would never let me share this while he was living,” says John Butler, who played for Thompson at St. Anthony’s from 1966 to 1970. “Some in the archdiocese Catholic league, some coaches, did not speak favorably about him when he went to Georgetown. And that really, really hurt him that there would be some who knew him because he was a product of the Catholic schools, he spent his time at Carroll High School and helped to put the place on the map, and some coaches who knew of his commitment to young people, and, having played against him, would take the opportunity to talk down about him when he went to Georgetown, in efforts, I think, to sabotage his success.”
I’m pleasantly surprised to find out so much recently about John Thompson’s faith and his particular fondness of the Blessed Mother. Perhaps that’s a key rational as to why Georgetown played the figurative Little Sisters of the Poor every season. https://t.co/brj1hfwN0X pic.twitter.com/x064OoXeTp— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) September 9, 2020
In a 1995 interview with Carole Norris Greene of the Catholic News Service, Thompson spoke about the racism he encountered while attending Mass in his younger years, and why he stayed Catholic.
“I think we’ve got to challenge. I tell people this, and I constantly remind them that I went to Catholic churches in my lifetime… where I had to receive Communion second,” he said. “I went to Catholic Masses where I had to sit in the back of the church.”
Thompson in that interview also said, “It teaches you, in my opinion, to be a better Catholic than it does to abandon Catholicism – because you challenge the system, you listen to their words, and you make them live by their words… and you don’t run from that.”
We spoke with Father Edward “Monk” Malloy, CSC, former president of the University of Notre Dame, who played on a championship basketball team with Thompson at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.
“John knew some of the worst things that happened in pre-civil rights D.C., and tried to be an instrument for change,” Molloy said. He recalls Thompson as a smart, team-oriented player who was effective blocking shots and clearing the boards for the undefeated Lions, then ranked first in the country.
“We were the first integrated team in the metro D.C. area. John was with me there for two years, and one more year after me,” said Molloy, who remembered joining the Thompson family for dinner at their home during that time. “We were given a hard time by all Black teams and all white teams. That’s why we hung together so well. We were being held as a model of integrated activity.”
A final farewell to legendary @GeorgetownHoyas coach John Thompson, Jr. @CoachEwing33 @officialmutombo @alleniverson & @iamzo33 serving as pallbearers @StAugustineRCDC today. @fox5dc @Georgetown RIP Coach pic.twitter.com/CSzpHurQJi— Bob Barnard (@barnardfox5dc) September 9, 2020
John Thompson Jr Remembered at Funeral
JOHN THOMPSON JR REMEMBERED AT FUNERAL: Friends and family remember John Thompson Jr. who died last week at 78. The legendary former head coach of Georgetown men's basketball transformed the team and captured the NCAA championship in 1984. MORE: https://bit.ly/3gPdsSNPosted by Fox 5 DC on Wednesday, September 9, 2020