NFL broadcaster's love of sports began at an early age

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Broadcaster's love of sports began early

With the football season underway, fans will be seeing a lot of James Brown. He's the host of "The NFL Today" on CBS and "Inside the NFL" on Showtime. I talked to him recently about his jobs and about his childhood.

What did you learn as a kid that helps you now as a sports broadcaster?

I was the oldest of five children. My father and mother taught us the importance of teamwork and sharing. We all had chores in the house. My chores included washing dishes, waxing floors and ironing clothes. But teamwork and sharing are important in my jobs as a host. The host has to make everyone look good.

What sports did you play as a kid?

I loved baseball. My father and uncle thought I was going to be a great pitcher. I guess my coaches didn't think so because I mostly played the outfield.

At first, I was not as good at basketball. I was tall and skinny, and I think Coach Don Fugel kept me on the Backus Junior High School team because I was a good kid and a good listener.

After playing at Harvard University, you tried out for the Atlanta Hawks and got cut. How did that make you feel?

I went home and cried like a baby. I really thought I was going to make that team. But it was a turning point in my life. I realized I had not worked as hard in college as I had in high school. And while I played well in tryouts, you can't make up for four years in a couple weeks.

I promised myself that I would never let an opportunity that I really wanted slip away again because I did not work hard enough.

How did you start as a sports broadcaster?

While I was working at Xerox, I auditioned for the job of the [then] Washington Bullets' analyst for their away games. I got the job. I enjoyed it because I missed basketball, and this was the closest I could get to the game without playing.

What advice would you give kids who are playing sports now?

Care about the sports you play, but be the best student and person you can be. That is what will help you in the long run.

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