This past Friday, June 1st 6 PM, at Hofstra University Shuart Stadium, there was a press conference. Ironically, Jim Brown (formerly of Manhasset) and Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial Corp partnered together to buy the Long Island Lizards. I acquired the privilege to interview Mr. Brown about his new status and how he got to this point in his life. I tell you, Mr. Brown is truly an inspiration.
Jim Brown, born in Georgia, moved at a young age with his mother to live in Great Neck, Long Island with his Great Grandmother. “When my Great Grandmother died we moved to Manhasset where I attended school.” We resumed our conversation on how he got involved with sports. “I joined everything that I could.” Knowing his reputation of being a better lacrosse player than football I asked him which he was more comfortable playing, he commented “I played all sports; baseball, basketball, lacrosse, football and even track and field.” When it came to choosing a college I asked him if Syracuse was his first choice, he explained, “No, I thought I was going to attend Ohio State but Ken Molloy (an attorney and Manhasset resident who was an alumni of Syracuse and reached out to Syracuse on Jim’s behalf) told me to go to Syracuse but they didn’t want me. So they gave me a year trial before giving me a scholarship.” Jim Brown went on to become an All-American lacrosse and football player.
Jim Brown’s adult life had a great start; he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns first round, sixth overall pick. After playing eight seasons, he chose to become an actor; he was featured in 15 film works. Mr. Brown later became an NFL analyst for CBS. At the age of 47 he tried to make a comeback to the sport he loved, football, but it was too difficult at such an age.
Impressed by interviewing an NFL champion, Hall of famer, 9x pro bowl selection, 8x all pro player, 3x NFL MVP, lacrosse hall of fame, an actor, and the list goes on, I asked Mr. Brown what was the proudest moment in his life. The answer made me realize my own perspective on life. Mr. Brown expressed to me that “Unfortunately I don’t have one. I have many moments but I don’t try to judge them by this is the greatest moment of my life; this is the worst moment of my life. I’ll tell you something I’m having a great time right now. I am here and my history is here. My teammate and his grandchildren are here, and I’m talking to a 14-year-old future star. Look at all the attention I’m getting at 76.”
Going on with the interview I asked Mr. Brown if he were to give advice to someone to follow in his footsteps, what would you tell them? He told me that school is the most important and sports are just a secondary. He spoke a lot about Ed Walsh and Ken Molloy as mentors who pushed him to go on and stay in school when it was easier to quit.
With management of Andrew Murstein and Jim Brown the Long Island Lizards will go a long way. Congratulations to new regime.
“You can’t worry about all the big things in life because you will never succeed. You must worry about the small things and then eventually the big things will come.” ~ Jim Brown