*Everyone knows by now that the last time Cleveland brought home a professional sports title was in 1964, when running back Jim Brown led the Browns in an upset 27-0 win over the Baltimore Colts in the NFL Championship Game. (It wasn’t called the Super Bowl yet.)
But Jim Brown never got his parade. The team celebrated at the Hotel Sheraton Cleveland on Public Square, but the city never threw a ticker tape celebration, despite Brown’s request.
Today, Brown was among the estimated 1.3 million fans who attended Wednesday’s parade for the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. For all intents and purposes, it was the parade Brown never received.
Passing of the torch. Cleveland’s last champion 52 years ago, Jim Brown, congratulates its newest champion. pic.twitter.com/1J8MJY1Isk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2016
“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,” Brown said Monday from his home in Los Angeles during a phone interview with the Beacon Journal.
“LeBron has given me a lot of respect, and it hasn’t gone by my ears and eyes. 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 is calling on Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to immortalize LeBron with a statue for ending the town’s 52 year title drought.
“He’d better give him a statue,” Brown said, chuckling. “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.”
Watch an interview with Jim Brown from the parade below:
More parade footage below: