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.
Photo taken from the always-excellent SI Vault.