When news broke that legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson II died at the age of 78, I’m sure the thoughts of many Knicks fans turned to Patrick Ewing, Thompson’s greatest pupil and New York basketball legend.
It has been a rough few months for Ewing. He was hospitalized in May with COVID-19, and now he has lost his greatest basketball mentor. Thompson and Ewing won a national championship together in 1984 and then Ewing became the No. 1 overall pick with the Knicks in 1985. The big man put together a Hall of Fame career in New York before retiring to pursue a career in coaching. Ewing would eventually take Thompson’s old job, becoming the head coach at his alma mater, Georgetown.
Ewing shared his memories of Thompson in an interview with CNN:
“People on the outside thought he was abrasive, but... sometimes we’d be in the locker room getting ready, he’d come in and start dancing with us. He was lighthearted. He worked extremely hard.”— New Day (@NewDay) September 1, 2020
NBA’s Patrick Ewing remembers legendary college basketball coach John Thompson pic.twitter.com/M2ywjVtxOf
Ewing mentioned that Thompson himself called him when the Georgetown job came open and encouraged him to interview for the job.
It was at Georgetown where Ewing came down with COVID-19, and he stayed in Georgetown hospital for five days battling the virus. It was an extremely difficult battle, according to Ewing:
“It was rough. I was in the hospital for five days. Fever. Body ache. I had a blood clot. It not only affects you physically, it also affects you mentally.”
I wish it didn’t need to be said at this point, but COVID-19 is no joke. Ewing is one of the toughest SOBs I’ve ever seen, and the virus did a number on him. Stay safe, people. Stay strong, Big Pat.