Sportscaster speaks at Bennett
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 00:02
Monday night, the University of Southern Mississippi played host to a CBS Sports TV personality as part of the 20th annual Armstrong-Branch Lecture, a facet of Black History Month events at the university.
Sportscaster James Brown spoke for about an hour and a half to a packed house at Bennett Auditorium about the his life, including his experiences with sports and the lessons he learned from athletics.
The Armstrong-Branch Lecture was named after Gwendolyn Armstrong and Raylawni Branch, the first African American students at USM, who enrolled in 1965. The Lecture was established in 1993 and pioneered by former university president Aubrey K. Lucas. It is currently organized by Dean of the Honors College Dave Davies.
Mitchell Williams, a former Golden Eagle basketball player and current associate director of athletic media relations at USM, moderated the event and introduced Brown after touching on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream Speech,” which, Williams pointed out, mentions Mississippi twice.
Brown’s lecture centered on incorporating lessons he learned while playing sports into everyday life and attributed his success to academic excellence.
“Education predicated everything,” Brown said. “Everything else came after that. Academics are the key to success.”
Brown mainly told stories about experiences throughout his life, including growing up in a modest family and playing sports, and even joked about his name. Main lessons Brown spoke of included being team-oriented, working hard, taking advantage of opportunities and believing in Christ.
In high school, Brown was a two-time All-American basketball player. In college, he played basketball for Harvard University and received All-Ivy League honors for three seasons. After failing to make the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks roster, he entered the corporate world and ultimately joined CBS in 1984 as an NFL and NCAA basketball announcer. He also worked for FOX Sports from 1994 to 2005 before returning to CBS. He currently hosts “The NFL Today” and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.” He also published “Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family and Significant Living,” a part memoir and part self-help book about finding fulfillment and success, in 2009.