Atlanta’s homeless ‘Gentle Giant’ gets donations from former NBA stars

An Atlanta police officer who has looked for a homeless man in southwest Atlanta for a decade, recently inspired famous basketball players to do the same.

Officer Mason Mecure told Channel 2 Action News he’s known 52-year-old Jimmy James Brown almost the entire time he’s policed Atlanta’s Zone 3.

Brown lives next to an auto parts store on Pryor Road at University Avenue in southwest Atlanta.

Though the 6-foot-11-inch, 275-pound man allegedly suffers from mental health issues, he always acts kindly.

“He’s never been a problem,” Mecure said. “He’s always been super nice to police and everyone around here.”

That’s why Mecure said he wanted to help the man, but Brown’s stature makes it difficult to find clothes donations.

“He’s super massive,” Mecure said about his friend. “It’s hard to give someone like that the clothes off your back or the shoes off your feet.”

Word got to the Atlanta Hawks basketball team and former stars Dikembe Mutombo and Shaquille O’Neal.

“Shaq actually called my cellphone and said, ‘I have some shoes for you to come pick them up,’” Mecure said.

Brown now has some new shoes — size 22.

Mutombo also gave Brown bins of dress clothes and shoes.

“He can look like an athlete out here or a pastor after today,” Mecure said.

Mecure and Brown’s friendship is now stronger than ever.

“I appreciate the Lord and appreciate him and everyone else for the donations,” Brown said.

The auto parts store will hold Brown’s clothes for safekeeping. The Atlanta Police Department is also working to get Brown into an apartment.