DETROIT (WJBK) - Men from the Lions past and present spoke on Thursday with a room full of Detroit's high school student athletes at the Charles H. Wright Museum.
The event focused on the importance of Black History Month.
"It's great to learn from different eras. ... It was great history," said running back Joique Bell.
Bell, along with Head Coach Jim Caldwell, former offensive lineman Rob Sims, Larry Lee, and former defensive back Jim Thrower, served on a panel to share their experiences as black men playing football and pursuing their education.
"I think it's just so important, especially in the climate of our country right now, to talk about some of the issues that's are going on. Also to really explain where we've been and how much we've overcome," Sims said.
The Lions honored Wally Triplett, the first African American to ever be drafted in the NFL.
In 1949, Triplett began his professional career, drafted by our Detroit Lions.
He wore the number 18.
"Let these young black athletes ... know something about their history," Thrower said.
"I knew that he played for the Lions. I wasn't sure that he was the first African American drafted," said Brian Robinson, a senior at Mumford High School.
Herman Moore, among others, spent the time to speak one-on-one with tomorrow's future, which Larry Lee says is important.
"Anytime that you get a chance to give back -- I believe in the good book, and the good book says to whom much is given, much is required," Lee said.
FOX 2's Josh Landon served as an emcee at the event -- a proud Detroit native and Lions fan.
He also ran into his former high school football Coach Drake Wilkins.
They had a candid exchange of lessons Wilkins taught Landon, and Wilkins now continues to teach his current high school players.
"Determination is what made you who you are today. If you can get these kids to understand regardless of the odds or all those other statistics, they can make it as well," Wilkins said.
The kids enjoyed the day, learned a little bit about black history here in the D, and met some pretty cool men.
"Your education is more important than anything," Robinson said.
A very nice lesson to help prepare them for the future.