Before coaching Georgetown, John Thompson won two titles with Celtics

1965 Boston Celtics seated (L-R): K.C. Jones, Tom Heinsohn, President Louis Pieri, Head Coach Red Auerbach, , Bill Russell, Sam Jones. Standing: Ron Bonham, Larry Siegfried, Willie Naullis, Mel Counts, John Thompson, Tom Sanders, John Havlicek, Trainer Joe DeLauri
NBAP/ NBAE/ Getty Images

John Thompson won two championships playing for the Celtics.

That those are only a footnote in his story speaks to his incredible life.

Thompson, the longtime Georgetown coach, has died at age 78.

Before his illustrious coaching career, Boston took Thompson in the 1964 NBA Draft third round. The Celtics were in the midst of their dynasty and set at center with Bill Russell. The Celtics also picked another center in the first round that year, Mel Counts from Oregon State.

But Thompson carved out a rotation role as a rookie, backing up Russell, and Boston won another title.

Thompson’s playing time slipped in his second year. Still, Thompson got his second ring in two years as a pro.

After the season, the Bulls selected Thompson in the 1966 expansion draft. Rather than join Chicago, Thompson retired and got into coaching.

That worked out pretty well for him – and the numerous future NBA players he coached, including Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and Allen Iverson.