Pro Football Hall of Famer returned to his former high school in Manhasset, N.Y., on Monday, April 29, to receive his “Hometown Hall of Famers™” plaque at Manhasset High School in front of current students and some of his closest friends and family members.
The ceremony kicked off with an inspirational singing of the national anthem by a 150 member boys chorus.
The event’s original plaque presenter, Bob Brink, was unable to attend the event. In Brink’s absence, another one of Brown’s longtime friends, Dick Clark, stepped in and shard a special message that had been prepared by Brink, along with a few words of his own reflecting on the great relationship he and Brown have shared.
After Clark and Brown unveiled the commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers™” plaque together, Brown spoke to the enthusiastic crowd, sharing words of wisdom and reflecting on his life, which he reminded everyone began in Manhasset. “This school formed my life, gave me my foundation and taught me to never give up,” said Brown.
“Allstate is proud to be here today to honor the hometown legacy of the great ,” said Allstate representative Dick McKenna. “We at Allstate know and understand the value of hometown pride, which was on full display today at Manhasset High School.”
Additional speakers at the event included Manhasset High School Principal Dean Schlanger, who served as the event’s emcee; Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises President and CEO George Veras; and teammate and longtime friend of Brown’s, Robert Rule, who closed the ceremony.
“The plaque presented to Manhasset High School today in honor of makes this school an official extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio,” said Veras.
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Manhasset, N.Y.
A Syracuse University alumnus, Brown was All-American in both football and lacrosse and a letterman in basketball.
The first player taken in the 1957 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Brown’s immediate impact on the football field earned him Rookie of the Year and league MVP honors in 1957. In all, he earned league MVP honors four times (1957, 1958, 1963, and 1965).
Brown was more than just a one-of-a-kind running back. He caught passes, returned kickoffs, and even threw three touchdown passes. His 12,312 rushing yards and 15,459 combined net yards put him in a class by himself. Jim was a unanimous first-team All-NFL pick eight times, 1957 through 1961, 1963-1965. He played in nine Pro Bowls in nine years and was the game’s outstanding back three times. He closed out his career with a three-touchdown outburst in the 1966 Pro Bowl.
Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
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