I have to admit that one thing that has been gnawing at me for quite some time is my belief that some of the current NBA big men – and possibly some of the young Wizard bigs – have not reached out to an incredible resource, Hall of Fame Coach John Thompson, Jr. Well this evening I had a brief exchange (via Twitter) with his son, CSN Washington and NBA TV Analyst, Ron Thompson, and he set me straight. I had asked if any of the current crop of NBA big men have reached out to his father for private coaching.
My fear was that this younger crop of NBA player might be too young to fully appreciate the impact that the original Coach Thompson had on the game and the big men that he developed – Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo to name a few. Maybe I feel it a little more acutely given that I grew up a fan of the University of Pittsburgh and eventually became a proud Alumnus. And as a Pitt fan one of my happiest days was when the Coach retired. (You can only take so much abuse from one man and his program!) However, I developed a healthy respect for Coach Thompson from afar. That respect has only grown over the last 16 years of living in the DMV and having plenty of opportunities to listen to him on his radio show and through his work on TNT.
So I found Ron Thompson’s response to my question to be pleasantly surprising. Current NBA players reach out to Coach Thompson quite often according to his son. In fact, according to Ron Thompson, “He responds by saying that all of his spare time is for his grandkids.” I am content knowing that the current generation of NBA players does have the good sense to reach out to a basketball legend. It is unfortunate for them that he has much more important priorities – his grandkids.
One pet peeve down… a thousand more to go.