The Long Island Lizards of Major League Lacrosse were recently purchased by a new ownership group, which includes the greatest lacrosse and football player of all time, Jim Brown. On Marketwire, Brown is quoted as saying:
“Not everyone knows this, but lacrosse has always been my favorite sport along with football. I started playing at Manhasset High School, not too far from the Lizards’ home field at Hofstra in Hempstead.
“I was an All American lacrosse player at Syracuse and our team went undefeated in my senior year. This sport is ready to explode and I am proud to be a part of it. I am passionate about the Lizards and plan to be at our next home game at Hofstra on Long Island, June 1st, one hour before the 7 p.m. game time, to meet the fans. It will be a bit of a homecoming for me and I am excited beyond words.”
The obvious thing to note here is that if you live, or will be, anywhere near Long Island on Friday, THIS is the MLL game to attend. You could meet Jim Brown. Do you really need anything more than that? I’m planning on making the trip myself. It will be that good.
Jim Brown is a legend on the field, everyone knows that. He’s also a pretty incredible human being off the field, and we hope you know about that too. He’s acted, and spoken to young people, and given countless interviews, often filled with pearls of wisdom gained through personal experience. He has actively participated in gang violence mediation, and become a social activist, hoping to change the world for the better. His not-for-profit, the Amer-I-Can Foundation, has been going strong since 1988.
It’s not like you need another reason to go, but I’ll give you one anyway. You should go to the Long Island game on Friday night (other than the fact that it will be a great lacrosse game) because of this:
If everything goes right, you could bear witness to modern lacrosse’s Tipping Point.
It’s unlikely the Lizards vs. Machine game will be moved to ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU because of this, but I’d think the MLL will be a subject of discussion a bit more on SportsCenter. Any time an ex-pro athlete or celebtity buys into a franchise, it’s news. And in Jim Brown’s case, it should be big news!
Lacrosse has made huge waves in the US, but there is still a group of powerful people who have not fully come over to the sport yet, and they are the old school football hold outs. Maybe they still see lacrosse as a prep school sport or a Northern thing (even though some of them are Northerners themselves). Maybe they think it’s the sport kids who couldn’t play baseball play. Maybe they’ve just never met a lacrosse player they know and respect before.
Jim Brown getting directly involved in pro lacrosse could change all of that.
Right away, I’ll say how unfair it is for anyone to put that burden on Jim Brown. But at the same time, it’s sort of a natural burden to accept for Brown, and it seems consistent with how he has lived his life so far. He’s not looking for the spotlight when gets involved, as much as it seems to find him… just a way to help the cause.
Jim Brown legitimately seems to love lacrosse. And it seems like he is ready to put his stamp back on the game. He’s not a silent investor, and he’s going to their game now that he’s an owner. He WANTS to interact with the crowd, and he knows the game inside and out. Yes, he’s a lacrosse guy, but he’s also so much more than that.
My hope for the game is that Mr. Brown gets involved, stays involved and helps the sport grow. It’s been his M.O. for years, and I truly think he can do wonders for the general popularity of lacrosse. When you combine that with what seems like outstanding character and drive, you’ve got a winner.
ESPN will be more likely than ever to talk about the sport, and it makes the improving connection between football and lacrosse that much stronger. Old school sports fans will see Jim Brown’s involvement as a validation of lacrosse, and high school lacrosse players everywhere will be reintroduced to a legend of a man.
Lizards Lacrosse: Investors Purchase Lizards; Jim Brown Among Owners
How could this be anything but good for the game?