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Legendary Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson Jr. – Often Called The Real-Life Black Panther – Dead At 78

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Sadly, John Thompson Jr. – the former Georgetown head coach who was often called the real-life Black Panther – has died. He was 78. Details inside…

2020 isn’t letting up with bad news.

Following news that Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman passed away, former Georgetown head coach John Thompson Jr. – who was dubbed the real-life Black Panther – has died, according to his family. He was 78.

News of his death was announced in a family statement this morning. No word on his cause of death.

“More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday,” the statement said. “We will miss him but are grounded in the assurance that we carry his faith and determination in us.”

John Thompson Jr.’s was a major influence in the sports world, so much so, he was often dubbed the real-life Black Panther. He made history as the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship when the Georgetown Hoyas won the 1984 title. Mr. Thompson then led the Hoyas to THREE Final Fours in the 1980s. That’s when the term “Hoya Paranoia” was dubbed.

Mr. Thompson created one of the top basketball programs in the 80s & 90s, featuring big name talents like Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Patrick Ewing. You'll recall, he was the only coach who accepted Allen Iverson on a college team after Allen spent four months in jail. Mr. Thompson quit coaching the team in 1999.

Also, the trailblazing coach was the first receipt of the Dean Smith Award, which honors a college basketball coach that embodies honesty, integrity and treating all people with courtesy and respect.

Although he was no longer coaching college basketball, Mr. Thompson was still putting in work and using his influence to encourage Black college basketball coaches to step up and seize the moment, according to ESPN’s Myron Medcalf:

A few years ago, he helped save a Boys & Girls Club in Washington, D.C. from closing:

In one of his last televised interviews, he gushed about the late Kobe Bryant's "Mamba Mentality" and more. Check it: 



A job well done. Rest well, King!

Photos: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America/AP Photo

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