New book details great respect John Thompson had for Patrick Ewing


In the late John Thompson’s autobiography, "I Came as a Shadow," readers get a rare, first-person account of the life and legacy of the longtime Georgetown Basketball head coach - including his relationship with current Georgetown basketball coach, Patrick Ewing.

Thompson passed away in August at the age of 78, but not before he finished his memoir, which is co-authored by The Undefeated writer, Jesse Washington. 

Washington spoke to MSG Network about Coach Thompson's basketball legacy, his impact on the Georgetown and broader DMV communities, and about the deep bond he developed with Ewing, who is also his former player.

“[Their relationship] went beyond player and coach. It definitely got to father and son,” Washington said in the interview, which aired on Wednesday. “We worked on the book in the Georgetown Basketball office a lot of days and you could just tell when Coach Ewing would come by, the waves, the glances they would exchange, just a couple of words here and there, it was a wonderful thing to see.”

Thompson’s reverence for Ewing as a player is well-documented and much-deserved. In the book, Thompson calls him “the greatest player to ever come through Georgetown, bar none.”

Ewing played under Thompson from 1981-85, which, without coincidence, were some of the program’s most successful years. The Hoyas captured three Big East tournament titles, made four straight NCAA tournament appearances, and won the 1984 national championship, which made the D.C.-native the first Black coach to achieve such a feat. 


But Washington put Coach Thompson’s love for Ewing into perspective with one passage from the book:

Thompson wrote, “If another player did come through, that I thought was better than Pat, I would lie and say Patrick was better. That’s how much I love Pat and that’s how much he did for this program.”

Ewing has been the head coach at Georgetown since 2017, and as he carries Thompson’s legacy on, he knows he had the full respect and blessing of one of his greatest heroes.