And so, in places like Trenton and Canton and Compton, Brown teaches life skills to gang members and soon-to-be-released convicts through his Amer-I-Can program. He directs a staff of 50 street-credentialed "facilitators," who help people learn to do things like read and get a job and manage their finances—which isn't to say that Brown's role is hands-off. One of Brown's "gangsters," as he calls them, recently left his gang, got a job and got married. The wedding was at Brown's house.
Ask him how he will be remembered, and Brown offers his own epitaph. It isn't much: "I don't care. Maybe they'll say, 'He was honest.' " But he does care, so Brown tells one final story. When Huey Newton, the former Black Panther leader, was shot to death in 1989, Brown was asked to read a poem at the funeral. Standing at the podium, Brown had a look at the faces sprouting from the pews: H. Rap Brown, William Kunstler, a team photo of '60s revolutionaries. He had an epiphany: "That these people were just like me," Brown recalls. "Different methodologies, but the same goal: to make this a better country."
From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, August 16, 1994