I Came As a Shadow - John Thompson

I Came As a Shadow

By John Thompson

  • Release Date: 2020-12-15
  • Genre: Coaching
Score: 4.5
From 91 Ratings



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.


  • Read this book

    By 79831121222
    Excellent Read about a great teacher of life. This book gives great insight into a truly proud man and his accomplishments .
  • Truly enjoyed reading this book!

    By Guy 22
    He was a true and great son of the district & a quintessential Washingtonian! A must read for any one that knows what the D. M. V. is about! Go #SJUBB 🔴✊🏼⚪️ & the #bigeast
  • Great Read

    By twan seminole
    Great insight ona great life lived!
  • Great Read.

    By A. M. McDonagh
    I’ve always respected Coach Thompson. To read a book that not only revealed details of his coaching but also dived into his thoughts and philosophies is a true gift.
  • Must Read

    By Dre301
    Great book from Coach. I use to go to the games at the Capital Centre as a kid to watch and root for Georgetown. As I entered into adulthood, I listened to his radio show and learned many things. The book is truly a gift , and I learned a lot from reading it. Rest In Peace coach enjoy your sausage sandwich.