and welcome back once again to SportsCastr news where, as always, I am Adam Arm Breck talking all things n b a and in this case, a little bit even beyond the MBA.
While we have been enjoying some great matchups, of course, with Murray there and Mitchell going at it in that 36 Western Conference matchup between the Nuggets and the Jazz, 2020 has been, of course, a bad year for for a lot of different reasons.
And unfortunately, in this case, it's because another coaching legend from has both connections to the n B A.
But of course, Georgetown at the college level in John Thompson passed away.
Ah, just yesterday, unfortunately, this time not no word from his family in terms of the specifics of this passing, other than to say that at 78 years old, a college coaching legend is no longer with us.
And there are, of course, direct ties to the MBA in terms of players Patrick Ewing, who played at Georgetown under him and the first place that we can goes, Of course, just the thoughts that came out around this when the news happened, you had Patrick Ewing saying not on Lee that you're losing someone who he considers to be a father figure but also a confidante and role model.
And there's some things that, candidly, I knew I know who he was.
However, I wasn't familiar with the full body of his work, or we're really some of the choices that he made in his life and really what he stood for as an individual and as a black member of the community and a representative of the black community in so many ways that he made a lot of choices that feel very relevant to what's going on now in our in our society, our culture, which could be both ah, positive thing to think about those who have been been looking to make those changes and help to influence the younger generations.
And then also ah, sign of how we still have a lot of progress to make, because there have been figures like this trying to influence the way that we the way that we look at certain, ah, demographics, the way that we treat both those that are from our community or not.
And he very much John Thompson, that is ah held the importance of who individuals were beyond the basketball court as high or if not higher, than anything that you thought about in terms of your athletic accomplishment.
So you'll be on Patrick Ewing.
Alonzo Mourning also said that the world has lost a revolutionary icon in a leader I've lost a father figure, lifelong coach and one of the greatest mentors.
Coach Thompson saved my life, continuously motivating and molding me into the man that I am today.
Around the MBA again, just Takami Matombo came out and had his thoughts around it as well, including also a number of MBA reporters.
Ah, and of course, the commissioner also came out.
Bill Russell, who was had also direct connections with Thompson as well.
Very sad to hear of my friend and teammate John Thompson's passing this morning.
Our thoughts are with his family and all of the men who brought who he brought through Georgetown and the impact he had on so many lives.
You'll be greatly missed beyond the sadness just in general of losing someone and losing someone that you're connected to and losing someone who meant so much to a particular sport.
There's also just the accomplishments and decisions that he made in his life.
So he was drafted into the N B A play just two seasons and then became a part of the expansion draft, where he would have gone to the Chicago Bulls, and in lieu of that, he chose to retire from the N B A and head back to his hometown.
And then he began to get into his coaching career and start to impact some of the young players that would come to the N B.
A generation for generations.
Really, in so many ways, I'm going to go off a great article that was written in The Washington Post.
Ah, Liz Clarke, who put this piece together earlier today as well.
It's definitely worth reading the in its entirety, But there were some great little things that I pulled out of it that I thought were just worth highlighting in terms of the accomplishments that John Thompson had but beyond Georgetown and leading up to Georgetown as well.
But it was a great quote that she referenced here as well.
Thompson had said, Don't let £8 of air be the sum total of your existence referring to the weight of a basketball and understanding that there was value beyond the basketball court.
And it has been well do***ented right basketball in so many ways for the black community four kids that come from inner city areas, wherever they come from around the country.
It's been utilized as a tool to make it out of a bad situation or to improve their situation not just for themselves but also for their family members.
And in order to maybe accomplish that, it's not just about what you do on the quarter, not just being a great basketball player, let alone the fact that that there's such a finite number of positions on MBA rosters in order to accomplish that dream, making sure that you're supplementing it with a quality education and making sure that's a part of your focus, especially when you're able to get a scholarship to a college that may otherwise not provide those opportunities.
Now you put yourself in a in a much better position to have success, regardless of how your professional MBA career or collegiate career may go from a basketball standpoint.
Ah, this was Thompson's frequent refrain, and the cautionary words were displayed in the lobby of Georgetown's McDonough Arena, where Hoya teams continue to practice well after he stepped down from coaching in 99.
So this was essentially a mantra that he utilized there is, well, the footnote around his time of Georgetown lead them to the pinnacle with that 84 75 victory over Houston in the 1984 and see double a championship.
So within his college career, accomplished coaching career accomplished the high 11 highest level of success that you could hope to.
Ah, but and these are, of course, borrowing from Liz Clark's words on the local level, Mr.
Thompson transformed a basketball program at Georgetown into one of the nation's most prestigious, compiling a 5 96 and 2 39 record during his 27 year tenure.
And again, just as from a coaching standpoint, think MBA or college level college level? Certainly long, 10 years do exist.
But when you think about on the MBA side of things, a guy where there's been some speculation around when we hang it up in Gregg Popovich, there's legacy Building that occurs in organizations or in college is when you keep one figurehead there and when it's someone off high character like a John Thompson like and Gregg Popovich in a lot of ways to he's seen how he's used his voice and his reputation in his status in the n b A.
To continue to bring more additional light to the conversations around equality and around racism in the country.
When you have people of high character like that in high level positions, it means that you can start to build something you can leave a legacy behind.
And they reference this Ah, both for Thompson and Georgetown.
But recently in an article reading about a Popovich and whether or not he leaves retires wherever the case may be.
Ownership group. They're very clearly stated.
There's so many lessons that we've learned and learn together with Popovich that have helped to kind of lay the foundation in the cornerstones of this organization that will live on permanently beyond his time here, because we were able to grow together and also able to have the same vision in terms of expectations standard and again, going back to this idea of character right and wanting to be ah, wholly invested in both in the players, both on the court and in their individual and personal lives.
A couple of the other notes here that I pulled away from again a great article in The Washington Post by Liz Clarke.
Take a look here and make sure that I get this information correct.
So, going back to his early early days for him, he had enrolled at Providence College and steered once again.
His mother, who was a heavy influence for him, steered him in that direction because she believe that had the structure to keep her son out of trouble and provide him with a quality education.
And he actually in 1963 lead the Providence Friars, as they were known to the 1963 National Invitation Tournament title and in 64 their first N C double a tournament appearance.
So his basketball accomplishments on the court, But we're also there is a player even prior to his coaching days, and I mentioned earlier was the Celtics, who took him in the third round.
There, he backed up some of the greats, obviously, as we mentioned Bill Russell mentioning him in his comments there over on social media and then again, after that, when it came the opportunity to either continue on his playing career or maybe move in a different direction.
It's not surprising that so many of the values that he spoke to throughout his career as a head coach at the college level really speaks.
That what his motivations were even back then as a young man.
There's one more interesting note here that I want to make sure that I brought up, and it was in regards to know he was one of the key founders and motivators.
Informing what is now referred to, obviously is the Big East there at the college level.
So there were a number of factors there, and beyond that 75 I believe they enlisted.
75 of the 77 scholarship players over his 10 year at Georgetown went on to receive their degree from the school, and the reason why it's in and of itself.
It's a sad day for his family.
Sad day for players, for coaches, for colleagues that knew him as an individual.
But there's real value in what he stood for as a coach, as a mentor and as a role model for so many young black men in the country during his time at the college level and beyond, because the conversations that we're having now today and saying we need to end racism and that's not something that's predicated on whether or not ah young black man gets a college degree or not, and then we need to have equality in the country.
But I think that there is that important message coming from Thompson about making sure that you're always bettering yourself, Aziz well, so that you're better equipped to handle whatever may come your way, even if it turns out that your college playing career was cut short due to injury or otherwise.
Maybe you're not good enough right where you go to the N B A and get a cup of coffee like heated.
And maybe he could have kept playing as a backup somewhere else in the league.
But knowing that, you give yourself that valuable base and we've seen this from a lot of players as well.
LeBron James, in today's MBA, is a fantastic example of the guy who came right out of high school, and if you think for a second that he hasn't continued his education and become become smarter, especially in business.
Right? Become a savvy business entrepreneur and created an empire beyond the MBA that he's going to be able to very comfortably transition to when it's all said and done for him and also, by the way, provided opportunities for those who were with him at the start of his journey.
Whether it's his high school sweetheart that he married, that's not an opportunity that's just making the smart choice in keeping someone who was there and supporting you by your side.
But he also had friends that were close to him that ended up going and extending their education and learning a little bit about business and about management, about finance and starting to cultivate.
Ah, great collection of individuals that are just as deserving of all those opportunities that maybe they don't have access to because of some of the shortcomings of the way that our culture has been created within our society has been constructed.
So making sure that that that old adage of paying it forward I think it's something that you saw from Thompson.
You see from a lot of N B A players now and you hope continues to permeate throughout.
I won't Ah, the believer, anything beyond this context of of who this individual was like I said, knowing him as the head coach at Georgetown for so many years and knowing that he won a championship, they're fantastic.
But I think the great part here is learning about the legacy of the individual.
And you could take away everything that he did as a college basketball coach.
And there would still be a fantastic legacy off supporting the community of educating those in need of a better understanding of their best path to success in life and really in so many ways, just just knowing that the sometimes the easiest road, what looks like the easiest path to successor, to accomplishment or to achievement is not always going to be the most fulfilling one.
He could have played out the string at the N B A level and collected some paychecks and probably had a nice life for himself.
But he had a calling and a derived to doom or not necessarily for himself before others around him, and through that he was able to be just as much of a basketball coach as a mentor in an educator as well.
So with that, I highly recommend going over to the Washington Post article.
You can find it online.
It does a great job of laying out his young high school career, his time in college, the early and brief career in the n B A.
And then again, really, just talking about so many of the people that he touched along the way.
Ah, to becoming one of the best head coaches in college history and certainly one of the most well respected, a couple other thoughts that came out as well.
We'll just include them.
We lost a great basketball coach and a great person with the passing of my friend John Thompson.
He was a leader in the game and in life.
John empowered all coaches, but especially black coaches and black players and, uh, one of the things that resonated as well.
He was, at the time, the first ever black head coach to have won a national championship, and even then in that moment, he dismissed the idea of referring to himself as such because what it said was to him, It's saying that this is being dismissive Other black head coaches that could have accomplished this much sooner than I did.
But again, we're not given the opportunity to do so.
And we've obviously talked about this not just in the n b A, but sports in general right ownership groups that you have my opportunities for minority ownership groups to come into prominence.
The opportunity for black head coaches across the all sports here, NFL, MBA, NHL, any of these sports, where the opportunities are necessarily being provided in the NFL is known for the Rooney rule, and they try to make some adjustments to that.
And even in doing so, it still seems like it leaves some gaps.
And we're really the truth is there are talented quality candidates there, and there's some level of knowing or unknown bias that has been held over here, where ownership groups or G m's etcetera just don't feel like these coaches air deserving of it.
So again, in that regard that's going all the way back a new little 30 plus years now, where an individual had this understanding in the moment of saying Yes, I'm proud that that I won a championship.
But saying I'm the first to have done it as a black individual is just really saying cir***stantial.
If you put everyone on uneven playing field, then you would have seen someone accomplished this far sooner than myself.
So just further words.
They're not only from behind, but just in general, about Thompson's perspective on things like that, where I think it be very easy to, um, just take the actually and maybe not bring attention to.
And he actually saw this the other night.
Tuas well when they spoke to Jamal Murray in the postgame had a tremendous performance, obviously led the Nuggets to a victory, forced a Game seven and afterwards incredibly emotional in his post game comments as he was wearing shoes that showed some of the victims from police brutality in this country.
And there is a weight to what is going on down in the bubble.
Players are engaging in basketball and they are turning their mind off.
Maybe for those 48 minutes where you get to just get out there and let the muscle memory take over for you.
And then on the back end of it, there is all the weight of everything else and we know what with the postponement there for a couple of days.
As players want to get together and have conversations with the commissioner and have conversations with ownership groups and start to further the conversations around these issues and lot let them fall by the wayside.
So those are choices that you have to make right? Jamal Murray makes a choice toe.
Have that type of conversation to have that type of overall emotion in the postgame, as opposed to just taking the nod of, Yes, fantastic.
I had a great another great shooting performance.
Can't wait for Game seven.
Likewise, when you win a college championship, be a lot easier just to say very proud to be the first black coach to have done this in NC double history.
Instead, Thompson was able to take that moment and reflect on it and say, Yeah, it's almost There's a disappointment around the fact that I'm the first to do it because there's plenty of other individuals who would have been deserving of so of the opportunity to do so.
John Calipari also said coach John Thompson passed away last night.
The Hall of Fame coach was a life changer for so many.
He was a great coach who built some of the best college teams of all time.
His players were a who's who of college basketball, truly an icon in his time.
Ah, there are number, obviously of other sentiments that you confined their out online.
But I again encourage you not not just listen.
You can read the list Clarke article in The Washington Post, or just start to research the man.
I'm gonna continue to read up a little bit about what he was able to do before Georgetown during Georgetown and even after Georgetown as well.
So if an opportunity comes along, we will certainly come back on.
And I'll certainly come back on and further that discussion around the many elements of this individual's life that should be celebrated after his passing and we're celebrating his life is well, but sometimes, unfortunately, it is in passing that we're able to reflect more on someone's life and really point out and highlight, and in current times like this, see how valuable an individual like that was during there.
Life last but not least, we will, of course, highlight the commissioner, Adam Silver, who came out with his statement regarding the passing of John Thompson, John Thompson influenced the lives and careers of generations of N B A players as a Hall of Fame coach and devoted mentor, John loved the game and was passionate about teaching his values, which were also on display during his time as an MBA broadcaster.
His impact extended far beyond his accomplishments as a two time eh? NBA champion player and N C a double a championship winning coach with John inspiring so many, including me, by using his powerful voice to fight for social justice and speak out against racial inequality, we extend our deepest condolences to Jon's family, friends and the many players and coaches who benefited from his guidance and wisdom.
No more prevalent to to celebrate this individual's life and think about how more individuals can take up that mantle now and continue to build upon that legacy and hopefully continue to change influence change, create change in this country around racism around inequality and understanding that the path for John Thompson was far more difficult and he was still able to carry himself in that way.
In spite of that, and that should be a reminder for anyone that there are always opportunities to still create a positive influence in a positive impact.
And it may not always be in the the easiest of ways to do so.
But it's important that we all try to examine that whenever possible.
The NBA games, as we know, continue on around this.
There have been other members of the N B.
A community and of the black community who have also unfortunately passed in recent days as well.
So 2020 continues to be a very difficult the year in a lot of ways.
And hopefully, as I think, someone also mentioned around not just John Thompson, but in general Ah, that it was Kenny Smith.
Actually, you said it on the post game, where his communication with his fellow colleagues there in in Shaquille O Neal and and ah, with with Charles Barkley and with his family members, the communication has been more frequent over the length of Cove in 19.
The discussions have been Maurin depth over that length, and sentiments have been more clearly communicated.
So in spite of what has been, ah, very difficult year to this point and doesn't look like it's going to let up any time soon.
It still affords us again.
Opportunities like Kenny Kenny Smith mentioned, like John Thompson also displayed to his entire life opportunities to see the good and to see the opportunity to influence and create change for the better wherever possible.
We thank you for checking in with us here on SportsCastr News will be back in, of course, covering all things N b A as the playoffs continue for to progress.
Until then, though, thank you.
As always, I've been Adam Arm Brecht, and we send along our condolences to John Thompson's family and those who were connected to him.
And hopefully his legacy continues on beyond as we move forward through 2020 and, ah, and hopefully into a better year ahead for, ah, for all of us as individuals and collectively, many thanks.
We'll catch up with you, sir.