Nike officially opened its first store in the DC area today, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the Nike Georgetown store at 3040 M Street. The store has been in the works for some time now, and replaces the Barnes and Noble which was a mainstay in the area until last year. The superstore is one of nine in the country for Nike, and covers 31,000 square feet.
The morning included remarks from legendary Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson Jr. and his son, current Georgetown coach John Thompson III. Former Hoya and NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing and US Olympic soccer player Brandi Chastain were also present for some of the day’s festivities.
“We are proud to partner with the Georgetown community,” said Nike’s North America Vice President and General Manager Elliott Hill in a statement. “Washington D.C. has a rich sports culture and we look forward to inspiring and serving athletes of all levels.”
More on the unique Georgetown elements of the store and a slideshow with pictures from the day after the jump.
Georgetown will take on Syracuse this Wednesday, and depending on how the postseason goes (as well as the details of Syracuse’s departure to the ACC) this could be the final Big East contest between the two schools. Vox is going all out to mark the occasion, including a road trip up to the Carrier Dome. But first, a history lesson:
Georgetown first played Syracuse in basketball in the 1929-30 season. The Orangemen prevailed 40-18, and unless you count the recruiting coup that was Fred Mesmer, there wasn’t much narrative significance to the game. It was just two college teams playing basketball.
The two teams would play some 16 times over the next 50 years, with some lasting tensions finally starting to build in the 1970s. All those meetings were merely prologue, however, to the struggle for supremacy that began February 13, 1980–the night John Thompson Jr. closed Manley Field House.
The 1979-80 season marked the first year of the Big East, and the first conference meeting between Syracuse and Georgetown just happened to produce one of the most legendary games in the rivalry. Before the Carrier Dome opened, the Orange played in Manley Field House, a 9,000-seat arena renowned for its Cameron Indoor-like atmosphere–when the Hoyas came to town that night in February, Syracuse had won 57 straight games at home.
Syracuse would move into the Carrier Dome the next season, and the Georgetown game was the final contest scheduled in Manley. Long story short, the closing didn’t go the way the Orange would have liked it. The Hoyas won, 52-50, and John Thompson Jr. used the post-game press conference to issue a proclamation: “Manley Field House is officially closed.”
Thus began what is arguably the Big East’s greatest rivalry. More than 30 years later, surprisingly little has changed. Jim Boeheim is still the coach at Syracuse, as he has been for every year of the conference’s existence, and a Thompson still mans the sideline for Georgetown. And, most importantly, Georgetown and Syracuse are still fighting at the top of the conference standings.
The Maui Invitational officially (and confusingly) kicked off in Washington D.C. on Monday night, and Georgetown made short work of UNC Greensboro, shutting down the Spartans in an 86-45 victory. The Hoyas moved to 2-0 on the season in a game whose outcome was never really in doubt. Georgetown started the game on a 12-2 run and never looked back, extending the lead to as much as 46 late in the second half.
O captain, my captain
Senior captain Jason Clark was mostly quiet in the season opener against Savannah State, scoring just nine points. Clark showed why he’s the leader of this team tonight, however, scoring 17 points on 7-for-18 shooting, dishing out three assists, and grabbing three steals–all in 20 minutes. Almost all of Clark’s work came in the first half before the Hoyas’ lead became insurmountable. His shot wasn’t falling from long range (1-for-7 from beyond the arc), but Clark didn’t let that discourage him, fighting his way inside for the majority of his points. The 6-foot-2 guard even managed to grab four offensive rebounds.
Even if the Hoyas do not make it past the first round of this year’s NCAA basketball tournament you still might see Georgetown coach John Thompson III making appearances on television during the tournament.
Dove Men+Care shot several commercials featuring JTIII promoting their soap brand.
Vox is just glad to know going in to the tournament that JTIII feels comfortable in his own skin.
Yesterday, a line wrapped all the way around the Kennedy Center for free tickets to 2011′s Let Freedom Ring Celebration, a yearly concert presented by the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year, Dr. Joseph Lowery received the John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award, for his work to better the lives of others. Dr. Lowery is best known for his work in the Civil Rights movement and for giving the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the same year he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Jarvis Matthews (COL ’12) gave the invocation, and, using Dr. Lowery’s words, reminded us to “turn to each other, not on each other.”
The event’s featured headliner was Patti LaBelle, “Queen of Rock, Godmother of Soul, and High Priestess of Good Vibrations.” LaBelle was a force of nature that had to be seen to be believed. LaBelle made her grand entrance teetering above seven-inch platform Louboutins to a roaring audience already on its feet. She quickly changed into a shorter pair of heels within reach on top of the piano.
LaBelle was joined by the Let Freedom Ring Celebration Choir, which featured Georgetown University students and singers from different churches in Washington, D.C.
Add one more title to Georgetown’s 1983-84 men’s basketball team: hated.
Sports Illustrated named the NCAA champions as one of the all-time hated teams in sports history, citing the team’s “combination of claustrophobic defense and shot-altering size” as justification for its ranking among the top 25.
Although the John Thompson Jr.-coached, Patrick Ewing-led Hoyas dominated the University of Houston on its way to a 84-75 victory in the 1984 NCAA National Championship, many college basketball fans were uncomfortable with their appearance, according to SI writer Paul Forrester.
“Thompson, all 6-foot-10 and 300 pounds of him, towered over an all-black roster led by Ewing’s equally towering 7-foot presence,” Forrester wrote.
Thompson, who was the first African American coach to win a major collegiate championship, downplayed the racial tension.
“People would heckle and we would see a lot of signs, particularly about Patrick, about how he couldn’t read or some other personally offensive things,” Thompson said to SI. “There definitely were some racial aspects to it, but that’s what was there. If we had been all white, it probably would have been our size [they criticized].”
While we’re too young to remember Georgetown basketball’s only title-winning season, we’ve watched enough ESPN Classic to know that we would’ve loved that team. However, we can’t argue with the 1991-92 Duke squad making the list.
We’re just about as confused as Casual Hoya about the most recent news to come out of upstate New York: former men’s basketball coach and all-around bad-ass John Thompson, Jr.was honored last night by Syracuse’s Temple Adath Yeshurun.
That’s right. In the same city where tens of thousands of people regularly booed him, Thompson was named “Citizen of the Year.”
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who once had a vicious rivalry with Thompson, delivered the ceremony’s opening speech.
“I’m just proud I can call John Thompson my friend,” Boeheim said. “It should never get personal … sometimes for fans I think it gets too personal.”
Thompson, who brought a national championship and three Final Four appearances to Georgetown over his 27-year career, was equally gracious—but couldn’t avoid taking one goodhearted jab at Syracuse.
“As competitive as the relationships have been in the past, I’ve always respected you as fans because I thought the people of Syracuse appreciated basketball,” Thompson said. “But as appreciative as I am, I ain’t coming back.”
The Georgetown Hoyas are scheduled to play Ohio tomorrow night at 7:25 sharp for their inaugural NCAA Tournament game. They’re ready to go. The Bobcats are going down. What’s left for you to do, besides order more Wingo’s than you can possibly fit in your stomach and hunker down in front of a television?
Rinse out your shot glasses. Because the Voice staff has thought up a Hoya-centric drinking game for this year’s March Madness tournament. Here are the rules:
Take a drink …
Whenever an announcer mentions Jason Clark’s phenomenal wingspan or preternatural jumping ability
When a Georgetown play earns a slow-mo replay—twice if one of Monroe’s does
Every time Greg Monroe pops his mouthguard in and out of his mouth
Anytime an announcer references the correlation between the team’s success and Chris Wright scoring in double digits
If an announcer complains about what a shitty job the committee did seeding the tournament.
After news broke last night that Austin Freeman had been diagnosed with diabetes, the Hoyas’ leading scorer spoke with the media this afternoon to address his health and its impact on his basketball career.
The junior guard, sitting alongside head coach John Thompson III, professed he was feeling fine after spending the early part of the week in the hospital. While both player and coach acknowledged that there was still a lot to learn about the situation, it sounded like the return to normalcy had already begun.
“When I first found out I was just like, ‘I’m going to have to deal with it,’” Freeman said. “But it’s just going to be a few adjustments I’m going to have to do in my life now. To hear that, it was tough at first, but I know that with me, I can deal with something like this.”
Freeman first showed signs of the disease last Saturday before an afternoon game against Notre Dame, symptoms that at that time were attributed to a stomach virus. He traveled with the team to West Virginia for a Monday night game, but took a turn for the worse Saturday night and was sent back to campus and Georgetown University Hospital.
On Monday, Freeman was diagnosed with diabetes, a disease he said he shares with his paternal grandmother. It is not yet known whether Freeman has the Type I or the less serious Type II form of the disease.
Looking for a new Georgetown basketball blog to tide you over until the beginning of the season? The new Hoya Paranoia blog by Zack Tupper (COL ’09)—not to be confused with the Hoya‘s infrequently updated basketball blog of the same name—could be just the ticket.
While thereareplentyofblogs covering the minutia of current-day Georgetown basketball, Hoya Paranoia fills a more historical niche. According to its about page, the blog’s mission is to study “race relations during the Reagan Years (1980-1989) through the lens of Georgetown basketball and its coach, John Thompson Jr.”
The blog stemmed from Tupper’s senior thesis. Although it is only in its first week, it already has eight pretty in-depth posts up.
Much of the blog focuses on Georgetown basketball’s success within the context of the local and national crack cocaine epidemic—posts have already discussed topics like Coach Thompson warning local drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III not to associate with Georgetown players and University of Maryland star Len Bias’ 1986 overdose and the racial implications of the War on Drugs.