Jim Brown: Incredible athlete, actor and activist
There was a time in sports that the name of Jim Brown was a common household word. While most were familiar with him from his success as a football player, he was also known on the television and movie screen as one heck of an actor. Those that studied his past were usually astounded at the sports talent that was packed into one person. Jim has been a major force in professional sports but also in building positive relations in the world of sports.
Brown was born in 1936. The son of a professional boxer and a housekeeper, he later moved to an all African American community where he lived and was raised by his grandmother. By the age of eight, he moved to New York with his mother. Brown was an unbelievable athlete, accomplished in basketball, lacrosse and track. Jim’s sophomore year brought an array of winning scores for both basketball and track, but his decision to go to Syracuse University opened the doors to show his abilities, where he settled on the sport of football. Jim had a banner junior year which included basketball and lacrosse and by the time he was a senior has 14 touchdowns under his belt, was on the honor roll of the National Intercollegiate All-American Football Players and added his name to The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. Jim’s talent spanned across four different sports and he was great in every one of them.
In 1956 Jim was playing for the Cleveland Browns football team. The nine year career in the position of running back left everyone else in the dust. There didn’t seem to be anything that Brown couldn’t do. He achieved all-time leader in rush touchdowns, held the NFL record for a single season and the 100 rush touchdowns gave him the added award of being the first football player ever to make this achievement. During his time with the Browns there was an expansion of season games, and still, Jim managed to gain on every player. Jim became the star of football, breaking averages on almost every level in the National Football League. The astounding part is, Jim Brown only played football until the age of twenty nine, a total of nine years, and yet managed to blow everyone else out of the water. The list of his accomplishments and record setting stats is too long to list. Let it be known that some of these records still stand today.
Brown decided to add acting to his portfolio. Many of us watched as he added his talent to television and movies. From villain to military and even nice guy, Jim was seen in a multitude of films. Brown performed with some of the top lining stars of the day, and was included in the first film that displayed a love scene with interracial characters.
In 1971 the name of Jim Brown was added to the illustrious inductee list of the Professional Football Hall of Fame. The Sporting News selected him as the greatest football player ever. Syracuse University chose Jim Brown to be added to their College Football Hall of Fame and he was even added to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Never before in history had a single individual received these honors from such a list and span of sports types.
Jim Brown established the Amer-I-Can program that works with kids in the Los Angeles and Cleveland areas. The goal of the organization is to offer kids involved in gangs an alternative through life changing skills. The group works with inner cities as well as prisons to try to make a difference and give people a choice of improvement for their path in life.
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