‘Yo Jimmy’

By William Kenny Feb. 6, 2014


Jimmy Binns poses in front of the famed Rocky statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

Nobody can ac­cuse Jimmy Binns of fail­ing to an­swer the bell.

Or, to bor­row a line from his fa­vor­ite fic­ti­tious Phil­adelphia fight­er, Binns has nev­er been mis­taken for “just an­oth­er bum from the neigh­bor­hood.”

The vet­er­an lit­ig­at­or, former state box­ing com­mis­sion­er, some­time act­or and re­cent sub­urb­an po­lice academy gradu­ate rarely has missed an op­por­tun­ity to in­tensi­fy his com­munity en­gage­ment or amp­li­fy his celebrity since his days as a Pop Warner foot­ball star for the May­fair Rams in the early 1950s.

Per­haps best known nowadays for his fre­quent pub­lic ap­pear­ances ad­voc­at­ing for the fam­il­ies of slain po­lice of­ficers and fire­fight­ers, Binns, 74, boasts an ec­lect­ic cur­riculum vitae that in­cludes cameo ap­pear­ances in two Rocky se­quels. Neither role was a stretch. Film­makers asked Binns to por­tray him­self both times.

“I met Sylvester Stal­lone when I was a box­ing com­mis­sion­er,” Binns said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view. “I first met him at Book­bind­er’s, and I used to see him out in Las Ve­gas at fights. He was mak­ing a new movie and asked me to act in it.”

Binns played an at­tor­ney in Rocky V in 1990 and a box­ing com­mis­sion­er in Rocky Bal­boa 16 years later.

“I had nice speak­ing parts in each,” he said.

Much like Stal­lone’s title char­ac­ter, Binns is walk­ing proof of the heights to be achieved for an in­di­vidu­al with cha­risma, know­ledge and am­bi­tion, re­gard­less of the neigh­bor­hood from which he comes….

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