James Nathaniel “Jim” Brown (born February 17, 1936) is an American former professional football player and actor. He is best known for his exceptional and record-setting nine-year career as a running back for the NFL Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965. In 2002, he was named by Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest professional athletes in the history of the United States. James Nathaniel Brown was born in St. Simons, Georgia, to Theresa, a housekeeper, and Swinton Brown, a professional boxer. At Manhasset Secondary School, Brown earned 13 letters playing football, lacrosse, baseball, basketball and running track. According to the New York Times: Mr. Brown credits his self-reliance to having grown up on Saint Simons Island, a community off the coast of Georgia where he was raised by his grandmother and where racism did not affect him directly. At the age of 8 he moved to Manhasset, N.Y., where his mother worked as a domestic. It was at Manhasset High School that he became a football star and athletic legend. He averaged a then-Long Island record 38 points per game for his basketball team. That record was later broken by future Boston Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski of Bridgehampton.