Jim Brown Enshrinement speech
Jim Brown Enshrinement Speech 1971
Presenter: Ken Molloy
Thank you very much. I come away from my visit to Canton with one fact and that is, that the people of this area know their football. Consequently, I don't have to justify my training by giving statistics of what he's done, you know that - is that right? I do want to emphasize the reason he is so eligible. By my experience this weekend with his peers who are to be enshrined today, outstanding coaches, sportswriters who've covered the sport, up to 40 years, and the one abiding thought that permeates each of their statements with regard to Jimmy Brown is he's the greatest running back of all time period that is important, but there is something indeed more important, and I'm going to reveal to you today a love story. It's a love story that started way back in a little hamlet of Manhasset, New York on Long Island, which sets among the bays Of Long Island sound; Why the wonderful people of Manhasset fell in love with a young boy at the age of 13, Jimmy Brown.
And I was tickled to know that his children are here, there is Kevin, James, and Kim, and I go back and remember Jimmy at about the same age and his intensity as a young man; His will to win, to succeed, to do whatever was necessary in order to achieve his goals . And at that young age, his goal was to be the best professional football player in the United States. She has achieved the pinnacle and I think it important, and worthy of note here today, that some of the people in little Manhasset who helped Jimmy; the Wrights, the Commarks, the Podbilskis, the Graciosas, the Prewines, the O’Connell’s; You can go down the name and it’s cross-section America all the way, and the product of that cross-section of America Is the man that we've come to honor today. And I would like, if you will indulge me, to point out two lessons. It has been said by the philosophers that the world can learn a lesson from every man, and I think there are two lessons that should be learned from the life of Jimmy Brown. One is that all of you people who are in what they call the “power structure” today, should look around you; There are young, talented, bright eyed, busy tailed kids who are ready and willing to rise in the heights and they can do it if you'll look and give them the opportunity.
To young people is the second lesson, and that is as Jim has gone through life, he has been a keen observer of society around him and in honesty, (and he's an honest person), he found some things he could criticize, some things he could object to - and he did this, but he did it with this honesty and what made it honest and valid was the fact that whenever he criticized, it was based upon the fact that his contribution always exceeded his protest and I think this is the key to young people who would model things today. And so, this love story goes back to where Jimmy Brown went on to that great World University of Syracuse and ended by being elected by his peers at Syracuse to leave the graduation exercises, and you know the rest of the story – On to The Cleveland Browns and then today five years later after his retirement, the first time he could be elected, he was elected to the highest pinnacle - the Hall of Fame of professional football, and he is honored, but in my opinion, ladies and gentlemen, I think America is honored also, by having produced this wonderful enshrinee James Brown.
Thank you, thank you very much for such a wonderful welcome here today. A lot of people ask me, in my 2 days here in Canton. “How does it feel to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame?” Naturally, I'm very proud and I'm very happy but I'm prouder and more happy over a few other things. And I'd like to take just a couple of minutes to tell you what those other things are first of all, during the parade this morning, I had a fantastic time; because there were about 250,000 people along our route, and they were wonderful. They responded and they made me feel that I was really wanted in the area and that I was remembered and that my mother is here today and she is here today and she had a tough struggle when I was a little boy, she had to take care of me all by herself and I'd never tell her that, so I thought I'd take this time to say thank you, cause you work very hard.
And Lastly there are few men here representing the community of Manhasset, Long Island. Now regards to what you've heard about me, my been outspoken, saying what I want to say, doing things that I wanted to do, you probably never heard the great story about the people in Manhasset. Today we have Kenny Malloy who I chose to present me here today, because Kenny was a leader of that community. But we also have the Superintendent of Manhasset schools, Dr. Raymond Collins, who’s somewhere out there, and you won't know him, but I know very well because he was very instrumental my early development. He came to Syracuse and he kept me in school. He did all the things that a Superintendent wouldn't do to keep the young man on the right track. And finally, there's Ed Walsh, who is my high school coach. And if I was a highly religious man, I would think that this man would be a saint, because I couldn't imagine him doing anything wrong.
And I love him as I love the rest of the people in the community of Manhasset. They are here today and most of all, I want to publicly give them my thanks because they came into my life at a time where I could have gone many, many directions. So, to all of you I hope you can remember that, remember that the arrogant, the bad Jim Brown can be humble when he is given true love and when he is able to talk about people that he truly respects. So, thank you very much.