SportsPulse: Former NBA and Georgetown basketball player Jerome Williams discusses his time playing under the late John Thompson and specifically recalls a quote that changed his life.
Allen Iverson was brought to tears during his induction speech into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
He thanked legendary coach John Thompson then for “saving my life.”
On Monday when news spread that the Hall of Fame coach died at 78, Iverson once again paid tribute to the man who gave him a chance when others turned him away.
Iverson’s three felony convictions from a bowling alley brawl in high school were later overturned, but put a negative mark on his character at the time, prompting other elite schools to rescind their offers or not consider him.
Thompson was not one of them.
Iverson then used two dazzling seasons (1994-96) at Georgetown to reach the NBA and forge a career that made him one of the most popular players in basketball history.
“Thanks For Saving My Life Coach,” Iverson wrote over Twitter on Monday. “I’m going to miss you, but I’m sure that you are looking down on us with a big smile. I would give anything just for one more phone call from you only to hear you say, ‘Hey MF’, then we would talk about everything except basketball…….May you always Rest in Paradise, where there is no pain or suffering. I will always see your face in my mind, hoping that I made you proud. ‘Your Prodigal Son’. #Hoya4Life.”
In Iverson’s Hall of Fame speech, with Thompson near him at the podium, the former Philadelphia 76ers star said: “I’d like to thank Coach Thompson. For saving my life. For giving me the opportunity. I was recruited by every school in the country for football and basketball. The incident that happened in high school, all that was taking away. No other teams. No other schools were recruiting me anymore. My mom went to Georgetown and begged him to give me a chance. And he did.”