If it was late and Irsay needed someone to talk to, he'd call Thompson. One crazy night, Irsay was fired up, determined to look for grizzly bears in Alaska; he told Thompson to get ready, because he was flying out to pick him up in his private jet.
"It was into the wee hours, about 5 a.m.," says former Thompson attorney George Tobia. "And so it was like, 'Well, we'll go tomorrow,' and it didn't happen. But they were talking seriously about their plans and where they'd go. It was one of those late nights when stuff was going on."
When Thompson died, Irsay wrote a tribute column for his friend on ESPN.com's Page 2.
"The thing about Hunter was that he had such a big heart," Irsay wrote. "That's the thing I loved about him the most. Because really, just like Belushi and Chris Farley, he was just a big-hearted guy, and he was actually a very shy guy, and a very sweet guy. Put away all the bravado and all that stuff, just very brilliant."
"Shy" is actually a word that Bob Leffler, the Colts' former director of sales, uses to describe Jim Irsay's father. Leffler says that Bob Irsay was misunderstood in some ways. He was a businessman suddenly thrust into the spotlight, and he didn't have a clue how to deal with the media or the public.
He recalls a time, in the late 1970s, when Bob Irsay won a Man of the Year award from a local group in Baltimore.
"He didn't seem like an ogre to me," Leffler says. "Everyone always said to me that he didn't want to win. Bob Irsay wanted to win. You learn from your father."
At the NFL owners meetings last week in Orlando, the league's most powerful people did their best to avoid anyone who wanted to talk about Jim Irsay. His daughter, Carlie Irsay-Gordon, made the trip for her father. For Monday's breakfast, she showed up very early, possibly to avoid reporters, something her father rarely did.
Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was one of the few people who'd say anything about Jim Irsay. He recalled in January 2013, when he was the Colts offensive coordinator, he fell ill before a playoff game at Baltimore and had to go to the hospital. Irsay immediately arranged for a plane to pick up his wife, and the plane stayed in Baltimore until Arians was ready to go home.
Arians will never forget that. And he says he's praying for Irsay.
People in Indianapolis are praying too. Kravitz estimates that 90 percent of the city is genuinely concerned, while a small percent is unsympathetic toward a billionaire who has everything but control over his life.
Jim Irsay is armed with all the lessons. It is possibly the most important thing he inherited from his father.
"I think Jim will recover," says Murray, the retired Baltimore reporter. "He's a very strong person. I think Jim will grow from this too.
"But maybe humans cannot escape what is inherently bred into them."