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The Guys Remember Legendary Coach John Thompson

 The Guys Remember Legendary Coach John Thompson

just when our hearts couldn't feel any heavier we learned that john thompson has died at the age of 78. the man with the trademark towel over the shoulder the trademark intensity and drive to mold not just basketball powerhouses but to shape the futures of young men he did it for nearly 30 years at georgetown his hoyas cut down the nets in 1984. his influence will be felt for generations hall of famer in every sense for studio jay in atlanta we welcome you to tnt nba tip-off presented by autotrader ernie johnson with charles barkley kenny smith shaquille o'neal and as we talk about john thompson i feel like as as nice as you guys look we're all a little underdressed so oh perfect there's one for you too shaq is it right side the left side right that's one of those down to the chuckster thank you wow a ton of bricks this morning you know when i got to test this morning the first thing i thought about was patrick ewing uh three guys patrick ewing the kim b matombo and alonzo morning three great men not just great basketball player but great men and there's only two basketball coaches no disrespect to other coaches there's only two coaches that when you talk to their former players that he says he doesn't talk to us about basketball he talked to us about being great men john thompson was first and dean smith was second uh and the first time i met both of those guys michael took me to play golf with coach smith and i was so nervous but michael always said he never talked to us about kennedy said the same thing many 

times but getting to know patrick and those guys john thompson wanted to create great black men and i'll always respect and admire him for that you know i i talked this morning with michael jackson his old point guard yes michael was among those family and friends who were with john when he passed last night and the way michael put it he said he just wanted to expand our world he said number one that's the reason i went to georgetown to play for john thompson and he insisted you better go to class you better be up on current events not just in this country but around the world and he said they even went to etiquette classes because john was preparing them for later life and said look when you go to a when you go to a dinner somewhere i want you to know which fork to use and which glass is yours and that kind of thing it was that it was that outside the basketball world kind of mentality that made him so special to to anybody who played for him when i was 13 14 years old it's a couple of defining moments that made me say i want to play basketball the first moment was when dale brown came to wildflick in 

the army base i asked him to send me something on you know getting stronger he sent that second moment was when ford mcmurtry and chris woodard said hey this is who you got to play like i want you to watch this coach i want you to watch this player john thompson and patrick young so it kind of that's why i always wore number 33 in case you guys didn't know and you know just you know watching them too and watching how he interacted with the players uh and then you know we went to texas and you know had already made my decision about going to lsu but if i didn't play for dale brown i think i could honestly say i would have loved to play for john thompson and then when i met him he was just so nice and to hear john thompson say big man i like the way you play you're a great player it just you know made me you know feel pretty good and he was always nice to me and he reminded me of you ernie in this sense he was the only guy that that when commentating the games he stuck up for the big guy he wasn't bashing like certain other big guys bad he always said hey he's getting fouled he's doing this he's doing that and then when i met him i think the last time i saw him was at the hall of fame with allen robertson but you know my condolences goes out to his family i was you know uh had a pretty good relationship with his son you know we used to do a lot of work together but he was he was a great man yeah i think everybody's hitting it the right way uh again you know you you talk about michael jackson not the singer who played at georgetown the point guard uh he and i were best friends 

and still are one of the five people that we uh we we consider best friends and he introduced me to coach thompson at 20 like 22 years old because we were both on sacramento team and then we talked and uh exchanged numbers and he treated me like i played at georgetown and i asked him that one that said coach why do you treat me like i'm one of the guy i call you always texting me call he's like because kenny you know what coach smith and i are like some of the best friends we have and you and michael are best friends now and so because of the relationship that he and coach smith had i became a relationship and even when coach smith passed he called me and said okay now you're truly one of mine and so uh those charles talked about those breakfasts and at final four we always would eat together always when he was here at turner but what he has done for a culture of young men in our age group he was the first coach that we seen seen standing this we talking about social change and all that yeah he's the first coach to say do that i mean i said it the other day and unfortunately he passed i said coach hobson when he asked us how did it feel to be the first black coach to win the uh ncaa 

tournament he said no i'm the first coach from new england to win it not black coach he said regardless of my race creed of color that is what is the most important i'm the first coach from that area and he used to he would take offense at that when people would say hey you're the first african-american coach to lead a team and he said because a lot of men were deprived of the opportunity who could have won it for long before i did yeah the the two guys who i think deserve in men's credit number one is coach thompson and the second guy is nolan richardson those two guys what they have dealt with because ernie with all the crap that we have going on today nobody see the white ernie johnson when you win something you know to already have that strike against you were you like oh he's black uh he's jewish he's hispanic like white america i don't think any ethnic group want anything with fairness and equality but if you always start a conversation and you always feel like oh he's black or something like that it makes you feel like yo man i just want to be i want to be the coach that won in national trip not the black coach and ernie it was a young fella in the virginia area was a hell of a football player was a hell 

of a basketball player got into an altercation i think he went to jail nobody wanted to give him a chance john thompson gave him a chance and fall those people don't know his name is allen iverson he's a hall of fame player and i saw alan supposed today thank you for saving my life yeah it's it's it's so deep rich because what i what i've witnessed is that he would treat patrick ewing the same way he tre perry mcdonald the way david wingate michael jackson it didn't matter and that was the quality that i admire the most is the fact that he could treat every single player with the same kind of reverence if they had come to him and then and just just honestly the the whole rap community when that whole when the rap music was going on everybody in whoever had made a right record had a georgetown a hoya jacket on i'm the that's the only school that i ever wore apparel of other than north carolina it was georgetown university remember oh the gray and the gray and the nikes the gray and blue nikes everyone wanted a pair of hoyas because he embodied everything that we wanted to be culturally and he was an absolute joy to be around when he worked at turner the interviews that he did with ai and with kg um with isaiah 

ryder i wish we could play to isaiah ryder he made everybody cry he was like no but he also he also he would also ask the questions and be honest with the guys he'd look at isaiah ryan says i don't believe you yeah tell me the truth and that kind of thing and i talked to vince carter today about the sit-down that they had when john looked at him and said take the ball to the damn hole you know he said he says he said but he he still made you feel comfortable while asking uncomfortable questions and he said like when the folks came to him and said hey john thompson wants to do a sit-down interview with he went coach thompson of course well you know it's john thompson well because he parented everyone who came in front of him and this did not go away from that and that's the most important thing that all coaches need to learn and you see the basketball stuff listen i love basketball it's giving everything to me in my life but coach thompson understood as a black man basketball is only going to get you so far i got to prepare you for life that's why it's more than the first thing i did like i said i thought about alonso december and patrick ewing because those are three of the best men i've ever met and he met they made he they made each other proud our heartfelt condolences from all of us here uh to the thompson family tonight prayers up for his sons john the third and ronnie daughter tiffany there was nobody quite like big john

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