Wizards family mourns the passing of John Thompson Jr.
Coach John Thompson Jr. was a titan in all corners of the basketball world, but he was even more than that in Washington, D.C. The Georgetown coaching legend passed away on Monday, leaving behind a legacy that will live on both in the game of basketball and far beyond.
The Thompson family released the following statement Monday morning:
"We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of our father, John Thompson Jr. Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on, but most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else. However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday. We will miss him but are grounded in the assurance that we carry his faith and determination in us. We will cherish forever his strength, courage, wisdom and boldness, as well as his unfailing love. We know that he will be deeply missed by many and our family appreciates your condolences and prayers. But don’t worry about him, because as he always used to say, ‘… “Big Ace” is cool.’"
Members of the Washington Wizards organization and Monumental Sports & Entertainment shared their thoughts on Coach Thompson with the following statements:
"Coach Thompson was unabashed in his protection, mentoring and love of his players. He was a father figure – as well as the most demanding coach – and they all loved him for it. A pioneer where sports, culture, and the civil rights movement all coalesced. He displayed ferocious integrity and – in a city full of great monuments – he stood as a giant and left an indelible mark on Washington D.C., on Georgetown University, and on basketball."
Ted Leonsis, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Chairman & CEO
"Coach Thompson was an enormous presence in the world of basketball, the city of Washington and the lives of the countless young men and women he inspired through his leadership and activism. I’m proud to be able to count myself among those who were touched by him from afar as a young fan and honored to have been able to learn from him through a personal relationship later in life. My thoughts are with the Thompson family and the extended network of players and coaches who will carry on his legacy."
- Tommy Sheppard, Wizards General Manager
“The loss of Coach Thompson will be felt far beyond the basketball and coaching community. He was such an imposing figure on the sidelines but such a caring, inspirational leader to so many players throughout his life. I’ve had the privilege to coach and play with many Georgetown players throughout my career and they all embodied the character, class and commitment to community that Coach Thompson instilled in that program.”
- Scott Brooks, Wizards Head Coach
"Coach Thompson’s passing is heartbreaking, just an enormous loss. He meant so much to so many. As a Black child growing up in the 80s, Coach was an inspiration. He embodied excellence, strength, caring and, above all, great character. He showed a generation what it meant to lead with genuine compassion and commitment for both those you are leading and our broader community."
- Sashi Brown, Monumental Basketball Chief Planning and Operations Officer
This year just keep getting worse!!— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) August 31, 2020
RIP COACH JOHN THOMPSON. I was honored to have the opportunity to pick your brain and learn from you while in DC. You had the look of intimidation and focus but had the mindset of a wise man. You’re a legend and will truly be missed!!