James Brown is an uncommon personality in sports broadcasting today. He has become one of the most recognizable faces and voices in the industry. He not only host’s CBS’s National Football League pre-game show but has appeared on national television broadcasts of college and professional sports, as well as the Olympics. His voice is heard on daily and weekly radio broadcasts. While he has been recognized as one of the best in his field, the journey hasn’t always been smooth. In Role of a Lifetime James not only shares the details of this journey, but also the life lessons that were learned from some great mentors he’s had along the way.
I first met the man everyone calls “JB” in the late 1980s (JB may remember the exact year) when I was an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelersand he was doing play-by-play for CBS. He would always come in early and ask questions about our players to prepare for the broadcasts. What I noticed right away was that he not only wanted to know their assignments on the field so he could accurately report on the game, but he also wanted to know about them as men. He always wanted to highlight what they were doing off the field that the viewers may not know about. As i got to know him better, I learned that this is what James Brown is all about – not football or basketball, but about people and relationships.
That’s what makes James so unique in his business. To get to the top in broadcasting you usually have to put the spotlight on yourself and demonstrate how good you are and how much you know.But James has taken a different approach, taking the advice of his high school coach and choosing to be a “role player” – a player who does the little things to help his teammate to look better. By using this game plan and by following Christ’s model of servant leadership he has become not only one o the best, but also one of the most respected and well-liked broadcasters of our time.
In this book you’ll see how that life philosophy was developed, starting with the work ethic that was instilled in him by his parents while growing up in Washington, D.C. You will see a commitment to preparation and teamwork that grew through basketball at DeMatha High School and Harvard University, and was later fine-tuned by a stint in the business world. You’ll see a professional career of ground-breaking achievements mixed with setbacks and disappointments. And ultimately, you’ll discover what has allowed him to gracefully handle everything that has come his way – his faith in Jesus Christ.
That Faith is what makes James Brown special. Not only did his faith allow him to move forward in those tough time, it’s what has allowed him to remain humble in a business characterized by huge egos. It’s what has motivated him to utilize the platform and visibility of national television, not for personal gain, but to help others. It’s that faith in God that guides him daily and shapes every decision he makes.
James brown has been a great friend and role model for me and so many others in the sports world over the years. Now, by writing this book, I believe he will inspire even more people who get to know the story behind this uncommon man.