Hall of Famer Jim Brown Honors Current 'Young Lions' At Tewaaraton Award Show
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- National Hall of Famer and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown made a rare awards ceremony appearance Thursday night, when he was on hand to accept the first-ever Tewaaraton Legends Award during the 11th annual Tewaaraton Award show at the Warner Theatre in downtown Washington.
Brown was introduced to the stage about midway through the ceremony by former teammate and former Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr., who delighted the audience with stories and humor for about 10 minutes.
"Why do I call him Big Jim? Because that's what he calls himself," Simmons said.
He also said it was unusual for Brown, who lives in Hollywood, Calif., to attend such an awards ceremony.
"You should be honored that the 20th century sports phenomenon has come from the left coast to the right coast to say thank you. It's not often that he feels comfortable receiving an award," Simmons said, adding that Brown doesn't have one trophy displayed in his California home.
It made sense then that upon receiving the legends award — which going forward will be presented to one recipient each year that played collegiate lacrosse prior to 2001 and whose performance would have earned him or her a Tewaaraton Award — Brown turned to attention to the 10 Tewaaraton nominees for 2011 sitting the front row of the auditorium, after thanking the audience and Simmons for the introduction.
"Thank you all of you very much for that standing ovation," Brown said. "Roy, Richard Pryor is not any longer but I think you take his place. Thank you for your jokes. I love it. That's my teammate. His father was one of the greatest men I've ever known and played a great part in my life, and because of his father tonight I'm here being honored by all of you. It's a wonderful honor.
"I usually don't care about trophies or things like that, but those of us who play lacrosse know that we do it for the love of the game, and simply for the love of the game. So we're all in the same fraternity.
"For you to remember me and to bring me back with these young lions here is truly an honor. I'd like to say to all of our nominees, congratulations. It doesn't matter who's going to win. You're all great and you have been recognized for your greatness. I join in with all of the other people who are here tonight to say congratulations to all of you.
"Finally, Roy, I love you, and the fact that they chose you to introduce me was a stroke of genius. They didn't know what they were going to get they didn't know how long you were going to talk. Boy, he can roll. I started looking around myself. So Roy it's been that kind of day. We've had a wonderful time. The committee has done a tremendous job, and once again thank you for that wonderful introduction."
Brown also spent time before the ceremony taking pictures and meeting the Tewaaraton nominees. At one point, he posed with Simmons, and men's finalists Joel White and John Galloway from Syracuse – an all-Syracuse photo op.
"For all the people out there, and I had a chance to meet a lot of you today, you should feel good about yourselves because I told my wife, Monique, 'This is little different situation. There's a lot of class here tonight,'" Brown said.
"Maybe because it's of the great game of lacrosse or maybe because it's of the people that are representing the families, mainly the kids. Because there were youngsters out there who being brought up to meet me and it was so wonderful to see fathers and mothers and youngsters and to have them connected with a game like lacrosse. Thank you all very much."
Brown later announced the award winners, which was a thrill, said men's winner Steele Stanwick.
"The heart was throbbing a little bit," Stanwick said. "To actually hear Jim Brown saying your name was pretty unbelievable.
"I was star struck. He's one of the greatest athletes of all-time. For him to be talking to you in any conversation feels pretty cool."
Check back to LaxMagazine.com for video interviews from the Tewaaraton Awards, and be sure to check out already posted stories on Stanwick and women's winner Shannon Smith of Northwestern. I will also try to post the full audio version of Simmons presenting Brown and Brown's speech.