I'm glad I heard Jim Brown speak at the Gangs Out of Downey luncheon Wednesday.Even before I saw him in the flesh Wednesday, I was convinced of his greatness as a football player. I've been a longtime Cowboys fan and I used to watch the likes of Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith as they won one Super Bowl after another (except when Pittsburgh and San Francisco won). But I knew Jim Brown epitomized the great running back. Not Bronco Nagurski, not O.J. (bah!), but Jim Brown. He didn't boast about his place in football, but you could tell by the way his immediate circle of friends and associates (and a former teammate or two among them) deferred to him that he indeed was a special guy. Brown talked about humility, about the innate worth of everyone irrespective of money, fame, or power, about the greatness of the "human spirit." He was speaking from the heart. And, boy, was he right. My vivid recollection of him is when he appeared in the movies with Raquel Welch. I didn't know that he eventually got involved with gang rehabilitation, and his influence is spreading. He need not have minimized his speaking skills. He was eloquent. Whatever else he said (about the occasion being a fundraiser, about generalizations about 'gangs', about the many great people in the crowd) hit home. A great speaker, he, and I'm sure he will continue to inspire. Now I'll have another cherished memory-I shook hands with the great Jim Brown.
********** Published: April 24, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 1