Saturday, March 9, 2013
O'Neil: Thompsons get last laugh
By Dana O'Neil
WASHINGTON D.C. -- The two bookends sat in the front and back of the room, one tucked behind the television cameras, the other before them.
It's been that way for some time for John Thompson Jr. and John Thompson III, though the roles have reversed over the years. The son used to hang in the background, the little kid watching his dad at work.
Now it's his father in the shadows, propped on a table, while his son prowls the sidelines and later talks into the microphone to earn his paycheck. Except there is and always been an inherent difference between the two.
No one puts John Thompson Jr. in a corner.
"He's calm, more like his mother,'' Thompson the elder said of his son. "I let you know how I'm feeling.''
And so on this day where history, tradition, realignment and championships hit the intersection of past, present and future college sports, Thompson Jr. was the one not only able, but willing, to speak the truth.
While John Thompson III tried to explain what Georgetown's 61-39 win over Syracuse -- the last conference game in the storied rivalry between the two teams, the victory that clinched at least a share of the Big East regular-season title and a top seed in the Big East tournament -- meant with polite deference, his father interrupted from his back corner seat at the press conference.
"Kiss Syracuse goodbye,'' Thompson Jr. said.
After the chuckles died down, he deadpanned, "Oh, excuse me."