Allen Iverson, the retired NBA superstar who played guard for the Georgetown Hoyas under legendary coach John Thompson before going on to have a successful pro basketball career thanked his former mentor for “saving his life” in a Twitter tribute.
“Thanks for saving my life, coach,” said Iverson, who was under Thompson’s coaching from 1994-96 before being joining the Philadelphia 76ers.” I’m going to miss you, but I’m sure that you are looking down on us with a big smile. I would give anything just for one more phone call from you only to hear you say, “Hey MF,” then we would talk about everything except basketball...”
Thompson died Monday at age 78, according to published reports. He had coached at Georgetown from 1972 to 1999, becoming the first African-American coach to win an NCAA title in 1984.
Along with Iverson, many other NBA superstars came through Thompson’s Hoyas’ program including Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Patrick Ewing, who is Georgetown’s current coach.
During his Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement speech in 2016, Iverson made it a point to thank Thompson for the role he played in his life, saying that he gave him a chance, despite the trouble he found himself in as a teen.
“My mom went to Georgetown and begged him to give me a chance, and he did,” said Iverson in the speech.
Thompson’s cause of death has not yet been released.