Reaction from the sports world to the death of former Georgetown basketball coach and Hall of Famer John Thompson:

“Georgetown University, the sport of basketball and the world has lost someone who I consider to be a father figure, confidant and role model. He has done so much to impact my life and the people he has coached and mentored along the way. However, his reach went well beyond just those who he knew personally. He changed the world and helped shape the way we see it. He was a great coach but an even better person and his legacy is everlasting.” — Patrick Ewing, former Georgetown star and current coach.

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“The world has lost a revolutionary icon and a leader. Today, I have lost a father figure, life long coach, and one of my greatest mentors. Coach Thompson saved my life … continuously motivating and molding me into the man that I am today.” — former Georgetown star Alonzo Mourning.

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“Coach Thompson was truly a great man and a legend in college basketball. He had such a profound impact on his players and was a father figure to so many of them. I admired him and loved him dearly.” — Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA great Michael Jordan in a tweet.

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“He was one of a kind. There aren’t that many. He brought a presence to the game that nobody does, has. He was a great coach, but he was also a role model for a lot of coaches — white coaches and Black coaches. He set a standard and the rivalry we had with him was like none other because of him, his presence.” — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.

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“He was an incredibly strong person who always put his players first and fought for them at every turn. Repeatedly, I was amazed at his passion for doing what is right, even when unpopular and no one was looking. Given his record of success and dedicated advocacy for college basketball and other social issues, John was a one-of-a-kind leader and an absolute treasure. … I loved him, admired him, and will miss him dearly.” — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

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“It’s almost impossible to put into words what Coach Thompson meant to our game and to me personally. Losing him is just really hard. … If you played for Big John you gained a lot as a basketball player, but you gained so much more as a man. It wasn’t just about basketball; it was about education and contributing to the world. I could go on and on, but he was truly a great man who just happened to be a basketball coach, and a great one at that.” — North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

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“John Thompson, on and off the basketball court, was a great example of an outstanding gentleman, conscientious student and an unselfish teammate who always left his ego in the locker room. I know I speak for all his Providence College fellow students, teachers and our NIT championship basketball teammates and coaches who will always remember John Thompson as an honorable man who we were all proud to call a friend.” — former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, a teammate of Thompson’s at Providence.

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“Forty-eight years ago, he joined the Georgetown community and with his distinctive style, commitment to excellence, and clear sense of purpose, transformed Georgetown basketball. We are a better university because of John’s leadership. He challenged us to live up to our values and enabled all of us to see new possibilities, for ourselves, and for the impact we could have on the world.” — Georgetown President John J. DeGioia.

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“His dedication to the game of basketball was eclipsed by his unabashed determination to challenge norms and call out social injustices, and we are deeply saddened that the quest for racial equity has lost one of its most powerful advocates.” — Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman.

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“Coach Thompson took the helm at Georgetown in 1972, vowing to turn around the program and bring a national championship to the nation’s capital. He made good on that promise in 1984 and had an immeasurable impact on the players he coached in his 27 year legacy.” — Basketball Hall of Fame President John L. Doleva.

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“Last night, we lost a towering figure in coach John Thompson, whose shoulders many of us stand on. A true teacher, leader, and mentor, he impacted countless lives through his work and his example. He modeled fierce intelligence, high standards, and incredible grace in his care for players, on and off the court.” — Texas coach Shaka Smart.

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“Coaches have won more games, but I am not sure anyone cared so deeply about young people and opportunity, particularly people of color. He was a difference maker and left an imprint on so many lives. He clearly impacted the game of men’s college basketball. I look at John Wooden, Bob Knight and John Thompson as the coaches who stand out. For them, it was not just about winning — it was about right and wrong.” — Jim Haney, executive director emeritus, National Association of Basketball Coaches.

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“I’ve even been at a banquet where I’ve listened to him speak. Powerful, powerful presence. Someone that, if you were a young coach at the time like I was, and if you aspired to be a head coach, he was someone that you needed to listen to.” — Syracuse football coach Dino Babers.

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“I vividly remember him walking off the court in protest against the infamous Proposition (42) legislation. It was the first time I’d noticed a coach taking the lead to fight against injustice. It’s fitting that this past week NBA players — many years later — followed his lead in walking off the court.” — George Mason coach Dave Paulsen.

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