DETROIT – From defensive back to Big Mac, Jim Thrower has established himself not just as an NFL player but as a philanthropist and business owner in Metro Detroit. Local 4’s Evrod Cassimy caught up with him at one of his restaurants as he explained what he wants to be known for in black history.
“What Black History Month means to me is history. Keeping the African-Americans recognized because most of us climbed on the shoulders of other African-Americans,” Thrower said.
The former Lions player and businessman talked black history with Cassimy from inside one of his restaurants. As the president and CEO of Jamjomar incorporated, he owns 14 McDonald’s fast food restaurants across Metro Detroit.
“I just want to be known as the individual who opened up a McDonald’s right near the east side of Detroit and gave thousands of kids an opportunity to come in and get their first best job,” said Thrower. “It’s so important that we work together in our communities, in our cities, in our state to capture the opportunities to continue to grow and make sure that African-Americans are a part of that.”
Thrower played for the Lions for three seasons starting in 1973 as a defensive back. Now, he's giving back to the community by putting Detroiters back to work while investing in their future.
“We have a program -- Archways to Opportunities -- that gives kids who have worked for McDonald’s for more than three months an opportunity to go on and get their undergraduate degree and if they did not finish high school to go on and get their degree from high school,” he said.
McDonald’s has now become a family business. Thrower’s children also own several franchises as well, here in Michigan and out of state. He had this to say to those aspiring to be in the NFL or own a successful business like his.
"If you strive hard to be superior, if you fail it'll be mere excellence. So you have to work with that type of mentality. If you get knocked down, get up, look up and never give up."
Jim Thrower played five years in the NFL in total. His I-75 and Mack Avenue location was the first one he owned, affectionately called, “The Mothership.”