LeBron James salutes Jim Brown in touching social media tribute

Ryan Aston
3 Min Read

The sporting world is in mourning as Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown passed away on Thursday.

Brown, who won three NFL Most Valuable Player awards and eight NFL rushing titles as a member of the Cleveland Browns during the 1950s and ’60s, was 87 years old. In the wake of his passing, Los Angeles Lakers star and Ohio native LeBron James took to Instagram to offer his condolences.


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James, whose Lakers currently find themselves in a 0-2 hole in their Western Conference Finals series against the Denver Nuggets, drew attention to Brown’s contributions outside of the gridiron in his post. And while Brown has been hailed as one of the greatest players in NFL history, his exploits in the pursuit of racial equality, social justice and human rights in general are considerable.

In June of 1967, Brown organized the Cleveland Summit — a meeting of top Black athletes, including Bill Russell and Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — to support boxing champion Muhammad Ali’s decision not to serve in the Vietnam War. In 2017, The Guardian referred to the summit as “a turning point in sports’ fight against injustice.”

As relayed by LAist, Brown also facilitated meetings between rival Los Angeles-area gangs in 1992 through his Amer-I-Can intervention program. The Crips and Bloods in Southern Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood went on to reach a truce in April of that year.

In a statement released via NFL.com, league commissioner Roger Goodell joined James and others in putting a spotlight on Brown’s efforts to enact social change.

“On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Monique and their family,” Goodell said in the statement. “Jim Brown was a gifted athlete — one of the most dominant players to ever step on any athletic field — but also a cultural figure who helped promote change.”

Brown was also an accomplished actor, having notched feature film credits ranging from “The Dirty Dozen” and “Mars Attacks” to “He Got Game” and “The Running Man.” He also appeared on television shows like “The A-Team,” “CHiPs,” “Knight Rider” and “T.J. Hooker.”

His passing was announced by his wife, Monique, via Instagram on Friday.


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Ryan hails from Salt Lake City and has covered the Association for longer than he cares to admit, in addition to his work in the entertainment space. Past bylines include Heavy Sports, FanSided, Bleacher Report and Screen Rant.