Jim Brown: LeBron James Had Better Get a Statue

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Though LeBron James brought Cleveland its first championship in 52 years, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar still might not be the city's greatest sports icon.

That distinction very well could belong to Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown, arguably the greatest running back back of all time, who delivered the city its last championship back in 1964.

Game recognize game.

Brown, who will soon have a statue unveiled outside First Energy Stadium, told the Akron Beacon Journal that James deserves a statue of his own.

“[Cavs Owner Dan] Gilbert is going to give him a statue,” Brown said. “He’d better give him a statue. That young man put out so much blood, sweat and tears it’s unbelievable. He gave up his life. He could’ve had a heart attack he was playing so hard. So they’d better give him a statue. That’s the least they could do.

“[He’s] a young man who has taken responsibility on every level — community, family, team, organization, city — and he’s done it with grace. He’s carried himself well. He has bitten the bullet many times, and it’s paid off for him. His legacy is set, and I’m so happy for him.”

A year ago in the 2015 NBA Finals, James displayed his respect for Brown, who was in attendance for Game 3, by bowing to him before tip-off.

"It was an honor for this young man to pay tribute to an old soldier,'' the Hall of Famer said afterward. "It was very special to me. We all want to be acknowledged by our peers and by good people and respect is a great word. I look at it as a gesture of respect at a moment when LeBron is the man.''

A year later, Brown is still grateful for the respect James has shown him.

“LeBron has given me a lot of respect, and it hasn’t gone by my ears and eyes," he said. "This young man has recognized me as a part of that family, and I’m so happy to go back and show my respect and to enjoy this and show how much we appreciate it and to wave to those fans.”

Brown said he's excited to join the city in celebrating the city's first championship since 1964 during the parade on Wednesday.

“I’m happy to take that plane ride and be given the opportunity to share some of the glory with the people that did the work.”

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