John Thompson is a pillar of the Washington community. He is a fixture on the radio and THE go-to source for opinion and insight on the game of basketball. It is hard to imagination basketball in the DMV region without John Thompson, who not only transformed the fortunes of Georgetown's college basketball program, but arguably changed the way that college basketball was viewed during the 1980s. Which is why the question that Jay Bilas answers in his ESPN Insider article today is both interesting as well as disconcerting:
Why is there not a court or building named after John Thompson?
Last year at a Big East tournament game, I was struck by the fact that the Big East honored the 25th anniversary of Villanova's upset of Georgetown at halftime of a game but did not honor the 25th anniversary of the Hoyas' national championship the year before. Georgetown's title in 1984 marked the first time that an African-American coach won an NCAA title.
Even today, there is no court named for Thompson, either at McDonough Gym or at the Verizon Center.
So why have we forgotten to honor John Thompson? Is there something insidious afoot in D.C.?
I think the answer lies in the fact that no one loves to celebrate Goliath, no matter how impressive his achievements. Thompson's 1980s Hoyas were seen as bullies and foils for scrappy underdogs like Villanova. It was fun to root against Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo. Giants are meant to be felled.
However, lost amidst all that noise is the fact the John Thompson has done more for the game of basketball in Washington than any other figure. He deserve to be honored for his accomplishments, the least of which would be naming a court in his honor. If Abe Pollin merits a street in the District, well John Thompson should at least have a statue.