The Game of Life – James Brown Comes to Marist

Last Monday, Marist students were treated to a campus visit by the legendary James Brown, Emmy award-winning sports broadcaster and host of The NFL Today and Thursday Night Football on CBS.

… Well, to call it a “treat” is an understatement, really.

Whether or not you were happy about Super Bowl 51’s results (me being on the “not happy” side… we get it Tom Brady, you’re good…) Marist students were able to find solace in the arrival of such a sports legend onto campus the following day. I know what you’re thinking – I couldn’t believe it at first either.

Right from the start, he came out with a contagious smile and laughed – as the crowd applauded his entrance, he joked, “Who are you guys here to see!?” He is a true inspiration to college students – he embodies hard work and dedication to his profession. He was extremely articulate, sharp, and positive.

Out of all the intriguing stories, past experiences, and enlightening points he touched on, there was one thing that has resonated with me since attending his event –  something Brown refers to as “the game of life.” It is really easy for people, especially college students, to not only get distracted, but also prioritize the wrong things in life. He spoke about his time as a student at Harvard University, where his focus was solely on basketball and making it professionally. And that’s where he began speaking about the game of life – when, as a young man, he realized there was more to life then the game on the court.

He shed light on the three most important lessons we all must follow if we want to reach our goals, because they helped him reach the pinnacle of success:

  1. There is no individual success; in every profession teamwork is essential.
  2. ALWAYS be prepared – more than you think you need to be.
  3. Never be complacent. Strive further.

As one who aims to be in the sports broadcasting world, I took his words to heart – if following his words of advice could lead to the success he has achieved, then you bet I will do my best to follow what he preached to us in the theatre that day.

Brown also touched upon important and current issues surrounding the sports world, including the prevalence of concussions within the NFL, the need for more domestic violence education for professional players, sexism in sports journalism, and the gender wage gap. Personally, as a woman trying to break out in the male-dominated field of sports broadcasting, his words struck a cord with me because it was so great to hear someone of such prominence in the field recognize and speak on these issues.

He closed on a positive note by highlighting the good in the sports world, and how it has positively impacted society. For Brown, sports brings people of various backgrounds together, “Black, white, Hispanic or Asian – there is a place for EVERYONE in sports.”


Writer and Sports Communication major Yvette Signore with sports broadcaster James Brown after his event at Marist College on February 6th.

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