Cover To Cover…‘Role of a Lifetime’

It’s Sunday afternoon, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than in front of your TV. You’ve got chips, liquid refreshment, the remote, and you’re wearing your lucky slippers. Gotta support the team, you know.

But as you reach for a snack, you miss the game for just a second and something happened. You didn’t catch it. You’re momentarily lost. Thank goodness for sportscasters, right?


But what do you know about the folks who bring you the nuances of the game? Learn about one of them by reading “Role of a Lifetime” by James Brown (with Nathan Whitaker).

From almost the moment he was born in February, 1951, James Brown says he was a “mama’s boy.” Mrs. Brown ruled the family with an iron glove covered in velvet; she demanded excellence from her five children and she raised them with Bible verses on her lips. Mr. Brown worked hard for his family at various jobs, and likewise expected results. His parents’ high examples, moralities and life lessons are the ideals that James Brown still carries with him.

Despite that he’s most famous for his work with FOX and CBS during football games, Brown’s first love was basketball. He was fortunate, he says, to have had good and honest mentors during his teens, and he worked hard to make them proud. His athleticism garnered attention from several colleges, but, with the idea of a “fall-back career” in mind, he attended Harvard. Following a disappointing summer in Atlanta when Brown was turned down by basketball’s Atlanta Hawks, he took his business degree and stepped into the corporate world.

And while he was there, he learned lessons that sustained him through his career, first on local TV stations in the Washington, D.C. area; later, with FOX; and now with CBS Sports.

There are seven “ingredients” that make success, says Brown: “Good Communication Skills, Appearance, Personal Relations, Punctuality, Thirst for Knowledge, Being a Team Player, and Overcoming Adversity.” Put them all together, and you’ve got a winning combination.


I didn’t much like “Role of a Lifetime” at first. The first few pages made me think this was just going to be another look-at-me sports bio. But I kept reading. I’m glad I did.

Brown has written a book that goes beyond sports. This book is part motivational for any young person who wants to be a success. It’s part business, for anyone who needs a cautionary tale or two for advice. It’s part testimony to faith, which makes it an easy gift for anybody and of course, a biography about the friendly face you see each week on the TV but might not know a thing about.

(“Role of a Lifetime” by James Brown with Nathan Whitaker, Faith Words $24.99, 203 pages)


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