UNC Asheville Common Word Community Read Series to Discuss Autobiography of Coach John Thompson of Georgetown Basketball Fame

September 11, 2023

Join acclaimed author and UNC Asheville’s Executive Director of Literary Arts Wiley Cash for this semester’s Common Word Community Read Series, a collection of lectures and discussions centered around a shared text with the goal of engaging in a collective educational experience.

The selected work for fall of 2023 is “I Came As a Shadow,” an introspective autobiography authored by the late John Thompson, the revered head basketball coach at Georgetown University from 1972 to 1999, who secured the NCAA championship in 1984.

Curated by Cash, a New York Times bestselling author and UNC Asheville alumnus of the class of 2000, the venue for all events will be the UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, Manheimer Room. All events are free, open to the public and have livestream access.

Student-Athlete Roundtable

Student-athletes and Cash will host a robust discussion about the pressures and expectations of life as a student-athlete at UNC Asheville on Thursday, September 21 at 7 p.m.

Participants might know these young people from the classroom, the court, or the community, but they might not know the full complexity of their lives and the responsibilities and challenges they face every day.

A recording of this event is available here.

Adam Rothman, Professor of History, Georgetown University

On Thursday, October 26 at 7 p.m. historian Adam Rothman will be speaking on Georgetown University’s history of enslavement and his current research.

Rothman is the director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies and co-editor of the recent book “Facing Georgetown’s History: A Reader on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation,” which details the university’s history of enslavement and its recent efforts to confront its past.

In “I Came As a Shadow,” Thompson writes about Georgetown’s slaveholding legacy, especially the sale of 272 enslaved people in 1883 that was made to save the financially struggling university. Aside from tracing the descendants of the 272 individuals, Rothman’s research explores how institutions and communities confront their shameful pasts.

An Evening with NBA All-Star and Georgetown Legend Eric “Sleepy” Floyd

Eric Floyd, a man who Thompson wrote about as being “such a phenomenal scorer, if he missed shots, he thought it was the rims and not him,” will be joining Cash on Thursday, November 16 at 7 p.m.

Cash and Floyd will discuss what it was like to play under Thompson as Georgetown basketball was on the rise, what it was like to face hometown rival James Worthy and UNC-Chapel Hill in the National Championship in 1982, and what Thompson’s mentorship meant to him both during and after his 14-year NBA career.

For more information please visit https://giving.unca.edu/alumni/the-common-word-community-read/