Aug. 25, 2014
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University men's basketball All-American Patrick Ewing (C'85) and long-time sports agent David Falk, and his wife, Rhonda, have partnered to make a $3.3 million commitment toward the construction of the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center. The building is named in honor of the Hall of Fame Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson Jr., who guided the Hoyas for 27 years and influenced generations both on and off the hardwood.
Ewing, the Hall of Fame center, was voted the greatest basketball player to ever don the Georgetown Blue & Gray and was selected as one of the top-50 players in NBA history. Falk served for decades as attorney and agent to Thompson, the internationally recognized Hall of Fame coach.
Coach, Mentor, Friend
The Falks and Ewing decided on the contribution amount to honor the No. 33 uniform Ewing wore throughout his Georgetown and NBA career.
Thompson coached the Georgetown team to three Final Four appearances. Falk represented Ewing for his entire playing career and the two remain close friends.
Love and Respect
Thompson is an iconic figure whose influence not only reached those he coached on the basketball court, but his impact was felt by society as a whole. He was known for keeping a deflated basketball in his office to remind students that they needed to do well academically and prepare for a life after basketball.
In his 2009 book about managing some of America's greatest athletes, The Bald Truth, Falk wrote, "But without question, the most influential person in my life - other than my mother - has been John Thompson."
"This is a very special opportunity for me to honor a man I love and respect," Falk says of the $3.3 million-dollar commitment. "To do it together with Patrick Ewing, who was a dominant figure in both John's basketball program and in my career, makes it even more rewarding."
"Coach Thompson was my coach, mentor and friend," Ewing says. "He guided me through a very formative period in my life and helped me prepare for success on and off the court. Giving back to the University in his honor is special."
Ewing was the first pick in the 1985 NBA College Draft by the New York Knicks in the first-ever NBA Draft Lottery.
"This foundational gift in recognition of Coach Thompson Jr. will benefit all of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics for generations to come," Georgetown President John J. DeGioia says of Ewing and Falk's commitment. "As the Thompson Athletics Center both reflects and builds upon a longstanding tradition here at Georgetown, we're deeply grateful for the support and generosity of an extraordinary alumnus, Patrick Ewing, and a friend of the university, David Falk."
Their contribution supports the Thompson Athletics Center, a $62 million project supported solely through philanthropy.
Proud to Make Gift
Ewing says Thompson introduced him to Falk and that he and Falk have "enjoyed nearly 30 very successful years together."
"I am proud to make this gift with David and Rhonda to a man who has been very special in all of our lives," Ewing adds.
The four-story, 144,000-square-foot Thompson Athletics Center will be constructed adjacent to McDonough Arena and include practice courts, team meeting rooms, men's and women's basketball coaches' offices, and weight-training and sports medicine rooms for all varsity athletes.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the building is scheduled for September 12, 2014.
The new facility also includes a Student-Athlete Academic and Leadership Center, an auditorium, team meeting facilities for varsity programs and a new venue for the Georgetown Athletics Hall of Fame.
The center is a major priority of Georgetown's $1.5 billion For Generations to Come fundraising campaign.