The Extraordinary Life of Georgetown’s John Thompson

by Bill McGarvey

“My mother always told me to speak my mind. My father always said, ‘Son, study the white man,’” writes John Thompson Jr. in the opening chapter of his autobiography, I Came as a Shadow.

Anyone familiar with the career of the Hall of Fame basketball coach from Georgetown University knows how seriously he took both parents’ advice. To the already initiated, Thompson’s provocative and outspoken advocacy on issues of race will not be surprising. For much of his career, he was considered a “troublemaker” among elite college basketball coaches. He was a blunt, opinionated and imposing six-foot-ten-inch Black man whose success warranted inclusion in an otherwise all-white coaching fraternity. And he consistently used his position to challenge the status quo on matters of race and justice. [more]

Bill McGarvey of McG Media is an award-winning culture columnist for America magazine. See his previous columns here.

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