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LeBron James pays tribute to Cleveland legend Jim Brown

Cleveland Cavaliers Victory Parade and Rally

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 22: Jim Brown hands the Larry O’Brian NBA Championship trophy to LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Cleveland Cavaliers Victory Parade And Rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

There was a great mutual admiration between Jim Brown and LeBron James — probably the two greatest athletes in Cleveland history, and two men who worked hard to give back to the community. It was evident when LeBron gave a salutatory bow to Brown, sitting courtside, before an NBA Finals game in Cleveland.

Brown, arguably the greatest player in NFL history, died at 87.

LeBron posted a tribute to Brown — a man he grew up idolizing — upon the news.

“We lost a hero today. Rest in Paradise to the legend Jim Brown. I hope every Black athlete takes the time to educate themselves about this incredible man and what he did to change all of our lives. We all stand on your shoulders Jim Brown.

“If you grew up in Northeast Ohio and were Black, Jim Brown was a God. As a kid who loved football, I really just thought of him as the greatest Cleveland Brown to ever play. Then I started my own journey as a professional athlete and realized what he did socially was his true greatness. When I choose to speak out, I always think about Jim Brown.

“I can only speak because Jim broke down those walls for me. I am so grateful that I was able to call you my friend. I hope I can continue to honor your legacy with my words and actions. My prayers to your family. I know they are all incredibly proud of everything you did for our community!”