I Came As a Shadow: An Autobiography

I Came As a Shadow: An Autobiography

I Came As a Shadow: An Autobiography

I Came As a Shadow: An Autobiography


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The long-awaited autobiography from Georgetown University’s legendary coach, whose life on and off the basketball court throws America’s unresolved struggle with racial justice into sharp relief

John Thompson was never just a basketball coach and I Came As a Shadow is categorically not just a basketball autobiography.

After three decades at the center of race and sports in America, the first Black head coach to win an NCAA championship is ready to make the private public. Chockful of stories and moving beyond mere stats (and what stats! three Final Fours, four times national coach of the year, seven Big East championships, 97 percent graduation rate), Thompson’s book drives us through his childhood under Jim Crow segregation to our current moment of racial reckoning. We experience riding shotgun with Celtics icon Red Auerbach, and coaching NBA Hall of Famers like Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson. How did he inspire the phrase “Hoya Paranoia”? You’ll see. And thawing his historically glacial stare, Thompson brings us into his negotiation with a DC drug kingpin in his players’ orbit in the 1980s, as well as behind the scenes on the Nike board today.

Thompson’s mother was a teacher who couldn’t teach because she was Black. His father could not read or write, so the only way he could identify different cements at the factory where he worked was to taste them. Their son grew up to be a man with his own life-sized statue in a building that bears his family’s name on a campus once kept afloat by the selling of 272 enslaved people. This is a great American story, and John Thompson’s experience sheds light on many of the issues roiling our nation. In these pages, he proves himself to be the elder statesman college basketball and the country need to hear from now.

I Came As A Shadow is not a swan song, but a bullhorn blast from one of America’s most prominent sons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250619358
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/15/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 473,919
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Thompson was the head basketball coach at Georgetown University from 1972 to 1999, where he won the NCAA championship in 1984. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. He graduated from Providence College and held a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia. He completed I Came As a Shadow shortly before his death in the summer of 2020.

Jesse Washington is a senior writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Table of Contents

A Note from the Co-Author xi

Introduction 1

1 Anna and Rob 7

2 The Rabbit 20

3 Red 35

4 Providence 48

5 The Celtics 61

6 The Game Behind the Game 76

7 Seventy Percent 94

8 "My Mortgage" 108

9 Bay Bay, Big Sky, and the Big East 126

10 Patrick 143

11 The Mountaintop 161

12 Bet the Jockey, Not the Horse 182

13 Sometimes the Lion Kills You 196

14 Rayful 208

15 Proposition 42 221

16 Alonzo and Dikembe 238

17 Iverson 250

18 Nike 273

19 Time to Go 290

20 To Be a Coach 305

21 Do Not Forget 317

Acknowledgments 325

Index 327

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