It was a star-studded weekend at Georgetown as numerous former basketball legends returned to campus as ground broke on new The Thompson Center.
Georgetown’s new practice facility is expected to be completed in August of 2016 and the $62 millions project is going to be completed through philanthropy. That’s where many of the former Hoyas come in. Patrick Ewing and agent David Falk donated along with Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert and numerous others.
The four-story 144,000-square foot facility will be a huge boost to the Georgetown program and should keep them among the nation’s elite.
But one player returning among the group of legends meant more than the others: former guard Allen Iverson.
Although Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo — who were all present — are all former All-Stars and among the most decorated big men of an era, Iverson’s general presence is rare in the public eye. The 6-foot guard is one of the most electric guards to ever play the game and Iverson making a rare public appearance on behalf of Thompson and Georgetown means a little more than the other guys showing up because those former pros are much more involved.
Iverson spoke to Ben Standig of CSN Washington about his relationship with Thompson and Georgetown.
“(Coach Thompson) means so much to me and means so much to me besides basketball,” Iverson told CSNwashington.com, “because he saved my life.”
Standig has a great exchange between the former player and coach that perfectly illustrates their relationship:
At a gala in Thompson’s honor Friday night, Iverson told the crowd of former players, alumni and program supporters about Thompson’s initial interest. “(Coach) said it was because of my mom and not my basketball skills –but whatever,” he cracked as laughter filled the ballroom.
Thompson spoke last and as always, had the final say.
“You wouldn’t (be here) if your mom hadn’t said they’re gonna kill my son,” the coach stated with his usual from-the-top-of-the-mountain conviction. “That’s when I decided to take him.”
That’s why Allen Iverson came back to the Hilltop on Friday.
“It’s everything to be here and be a part of this,” Iverson told CSNwashington.com. “(Coach Thompson) is Georgetown. You can’t mention Georgetown without mentioning his name. It’s like peanut butter and jelly. … He gave me an opportunity and a chance at life when nobody else would. I’m just glad to be here and be a part of it.”
Thompson went on to speak about Iverson when addressing a group at the event.
“I’m not coaching for four more wins,” Thompson said, as he fell four wins shy of 600 when he retired. “I don’t care about stats. I’m proud of Allen Iverson. That’s my prodigal son.”
It’s nice to see Allen Iverson in the news for something positive, and involving Georgetown and Thompson.