As the most recognized player in Georgetown basketball history, Patrick Ewing frequently has said he owes his development on and off the court to former Hoyas coach John Thompson Jr.
Ewing showed his financial appreciation in that regard Monday afternoon by joining with longtime sports agent David Falk to donate $3.3 million toward the construction of the John Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center. Falk has strong ties with Thompson and Ewing, having represented both for decades.
The school is set to break ground Sept. 12 on the four-story, 144,000-square foot facility that will be built next to McDonough Gym at a cost of $62 million, all from contributions. The building is to include practice courts and men’s and women’s basketball coaches offices as well as meeting facilities for varsity programs.
“Coach Thompson is a very special person in my life,” Ewing said in a telephone interview. “He brought me to Georgetown as a boy and helped me to grow as a man, and I think the gift to the university is something that is very special and very meaningful. It’s blessed with Coach Thompson’s name on it, so I think that it’s something very much worthwhile.”
With Ewing as his anchor inside, Thompson directed Georgetown to three Final Four appearances in four years. The Hoyas won their only national championship in 1984 by beating Houston, 84-75. Ewing was named the most outstanding player of that NCAA tournament.
The following season, Ewing was selected national college player of the year and went to the New York Knicks with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft following the league’s inaugural draft lottery. Ewing finished his college career as Georgetown’s career leading rebounder and second-leading scorer.
The 7-foot center born in Kingston, Jamaica, was an 11-time NBA All-Star, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
“My whole Georgetown experience was a great experience,” Ewing said. “Naturally winning the championship, going to three Final Fours, was like a dream. The friends that I met there, the teammates that I played with, Coach Thompson and his staff, Coach Thompson, like I said before, he took a lot of heat for me when I was there.”
Ewing wore No. 33 at Georgetown and in the NBA, thus leading to the donation figure. Ewing also met Falk while at Georgetown through an introduction from Thompson, and all three have remained close friends.
In 27 seasons on the Hilltop, Thompson, 72,won a school-record 596 games and was named Big East coach of the year three times. Thompson’s eldest son, John Thompson III, has been the coach of the Hoyas since 2004.