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Gamecock Athletics and Palmetto Shirt Co. partner to honor Gamecock Jesus
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Gamecock Athletics and Palmetto Shirt Co. partner to honor Gamecock Jesus

Columbia, S.C. – Today, Gamecock Athletics and Palmetto Shirt Company have partnered to honor Carlton Thompson, affectionately known as “Gamecock Jesus.”

A special t-shirt has been designed to honor Gamecock Jesus. This is the same t-shirt that was worn by the South Carolina women’s basketball team prior to their game vs. Morgan State earlier this season.

All proceeds from each t-shirt purchased through the Palmetto Shirt Company will be donated to the Special Olympics of South Carolina (SOSC). The SOSC was a charitable organization close to Thompson and was chosen by his family as the recipient of the donations.

Carlton Thompson was a 1982 graduate of USC’s College of Nursing. He was a Gamecock sports superfan, especially when it came to basketball, and was often seen in Colonial Life Arena waving his USC flag and pumping up the crowd. He was once quoted saying, “My whole purpose is to get the crowd involved. I’ve seen it happen, I know it can win games.” He was actively involved in the community, and was a supporter of many local causes.

“We are honored that Carlton’s family has selected the Special Olympics of South Carolina to benefit from the proceeds of the tribute t-shirt,” said Sandye Williams, USC alumna and Director of Marketing and Development for SOSC. “Their support will help us in our mission to provide sports training and competition, along with health and educational programs, to over 30,000 kids and adults with intellectual disabilities in our state.”

Previously, Palmetto Shirt Co. has donated to SC Nurses Scholarships with the proceeds from their Strong SC shirt campaign, benefiting nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently created a USC Band t-shirt to help support their trip to New York City to perform in the 2024 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

“We are always looking for ways to use our resources for good,” stated Rusty Koss, owner of Palmetto Shirt Company. “Carlton Thompson was an inspiration to the USC community, and we’re happy to do this fundraiser to support a cause he cared about and keep his memory alive.”

Sales of the Gamecock Jesus t-shirt started on Monday, January 29, with a fundraising goal of $15,000 at