I blogged about John Thompson earlier this morning with the announcement of his death, but I wanted to take a moment to put this Allen Iverson Hall of Fame speech alone.
Iverson talking about his college coach, breaking down as he explains how Thompson saved his life. The 'incident' that Iverson is talking about during high school is well-documented but he spent a few months in jail after allegedly getting into a fight at a bowling alley. The decision was eventually overturned, but when you're a big time recruit in the 90s, that obviously sticks out. That's why Thompson so important to Iverson. He looked past 'the incident' as Iverson calls it and let him come to Georgetown. That's what Thompson did. He looked for valuable life lessons as a coach, he always preached life outside of basketball.
In two seasons at Georgetown Iverson won Big East Rookie of the Year, was an All-American and Big East Defensive Player of the Year. That he credits to Thompson, who his mother begged to take a chance on him. Thompson was known for being that intimidating person, but always cared about his players. That's the majority of stories you hear coming out today, remembering a guy who is an absolute icon in the game. Thompson also protected his players - this story from 2018 and Iverson. While at Nova for a game, four fans dressed in orange jumpsuits and had a sign calling Iverson the next OJ:
Here’s what Coach Thompson, MY coach, did for me on that night: He didn’t ask for their sign to be confiscated. He didn’t yell and shout and make a scene. No. See, what Coach did is he calmly walked over to us, player by player, and told us that — don’t worry about our things — we were leaving the floor. That’s it: We were leaving the floor. No big drama. Heads held high. We were there…. and then we were gone.
"And then once we were off that floor, and it was just Coach back on the court? He calmly told those refs, he said, “Hey, no disrespect. No disrespect to y’all. But here’s what’s going to happen: If you don’t get those four pieces of sh*t outta here, and I’m talking immediately — we’re gonna be forfeiting this game. Understood?”
"They understood, man
Again, RIP to an absolute icon.