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THE 30th ANNUAL GREAT SPORTS LEGENDS DINNER TO
HONOR JORGE POSADA, VICTOR ESPINOZA,
KARL MALONE, MICHELLE KWAN AND MORE
Benefit for The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
Tom Brokaw from NBC News to Serve as Master of Ceremonies and Honorees
Include Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Orianne and Phil Collins
Live Performances byThe Beach Boys and The Pointer Sisters
NEW YORK (August 10, 2015) – The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis will honor a group of prominent Sports Legends and Honorees when it hosts its 30th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. The annual event, hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc, and chaired by Mark Dalton, raises funds to support the ground-breaking spinal cord injury research done by researchers at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis – the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, which is based at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. NBC News Icon Tom Brokaw will serve as Master of Ceremonies and the event will feature live performances by The Beach Boys and The Pointer Sisters.
The 2015 Great Sports Legends include Jorge Posada, Karl Malone, Ray Lewis, John Stockton, Michelle Kwan, Victor Espinoza, Jennifer Capriati and Chip Ganassi. Honorees for the evening include Gloria and Emilio Estefan who will receive The Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award, and Humanitarian Award recipients Orianne and Phil Collins.
The celebration assembles sports legends, celebrities, philanthropic icons and corporate leaders to support the efforts of The Buoniconti Fund Board of Directors and numerous longtime benefactors. Tickets start at $850 per person and can be purchased below or by phone at (305)-243-4656.
The 2015 Great Sports Legends include:
Jorge Posada – Former catcher for 17 seasons with the New York Yankees, Posada is a five-time All Star player and a five-time World Series champion. Posada is only the second Yankees catcher after Yogi Berra to hit 30 home runs in a season. He is the only Major League Baseball catcher to ever bat .330 or better with 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs in a single season
Karl Malone – Nicknamed “The Mailman,” Malone was a power forward for 18 seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers. He is a NBA Hall of Famer, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team. He scored the second most career points in NBA history and holds the records for most free throws attempted and made, in addition to co-holding the record for the most first team All-NBA elections in history. He is considered among the greatest power forwards in NBA history.
Ray Lewis – Considered one of the greatest ever to play middle linebacker in the NFL, Lewis, who played his entire 17-year career for the Baltimore Ravens, was selected to 13 Pro Bowls and named an Associated Press All-Pro 10 times. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003, becoming the sixth player to win the award multiple times. Lewis retired in 2013 after winning his second Super Bowl with the Ravens, and he is now a contributor on ESPN for their NFL coverage.
John Stockton – Regarded as one of the best point guards of all time, Stockton holds the NBA records for most career assists and steals by considerable margins. He played his entire career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz. Stockton is a ten-time NBA All-Star, and a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (in 2009 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“Dream Team”). He was also inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as a member of the “Dream Team” in 2009.
Michelle Kwan – Widely considered one of the greatest figure skaters of all time, Kwan is a two-time (1998 and 2002) Olympic medalist, a five-time (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003) World champion and a nine-time (1996, 1998–2005) U.S. champion (tied for the all-time record). For well over a decade, Kwan maintained her status not only as America’s most popular figure skater, but as one of America’s most popular female athletes.
Victor Espinoza – The first jockey in history to enter the Belmont Stakes with a third opportunity to win the Triple Crown, Espinoza finally won that elusive honor this year on American Pharaoh, becoming the oldest jockey and first Hispanic jockey to win the award. Espinoza has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes three times, riding War Emblem in 2002, California Chrome in 2014, and American Pharaoh in 2015.
Jennifer Capriati – A former World No. 1 professional tennis player and International Tennis Hall of Fame member, Capriati won three women’s singles championships in Grand Slam tournaments. She made her professional debut in 1990 at the age of 13 when she reached the finals of the hard court tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. Capriati reached the semifinals of the French Open in her debut and later became the youngest ever player to crack the top 10 at age 14. Between 1990 and 1993, Capriati won six singles titles, including a Gold Medal at the1992 Barcelona Olympics, defeating Steffi Grafin the final.
Chip Ganassi – A former American racing driver, Ganassi is the owner and CEO of Chip Ganassi Racing, which operates teams on the Indy Car Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and Tudor United Sports Car Championship. He has been involved with the North American auto racing scene for more than 30 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as most innovative owners.
Honorees for the evening include:
The Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award Recipients, Gloria and Emilio Estefan– Twenty-six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning power couple Emilio and Gloria Estefan, whose highly-anticipated biographical musical On Your Feet! starts performances on Broadway October 5, will receive this year’s Buoniconti Fund Inspiration Award. One of the most celebrated couples in music; Gloria and Emilio Estefan know the importance of giving back to the community and have never forgotten their Cuban roots. Married since 1978, their musical talents have not only catapulted their own careers, but have helped other Latin artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Carlos Ponce, Ricky Martin and Victor Manuelle. In addition, the Estefans founded the Gloria Estefan Foundation, aimed at reaching those who struggle outside the safeguards of society by promoting good health, education, and cultural development. Following her own brush with paralysis Gloria teamed up with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in 1994. She served as the capital campaign director of The Miami Project’s new building campaign that raised more than $40 million dollars.
Humanitarian Award Recipients, Orianne and Phil Collins– Phil Collins is one of the most successful songwriters and performers of all time. Collins had dozens of hit albums and singles in the UK and the US between 1976 and 2010, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. He is one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the 1980s and beyond. Phil and Orianne are co-founder of the Little Dreams Foundation (LDF), an international charity which fulfills the dreams of young aspiring talents without financial means to achieve their goals. The LDF helps children thrive by supporting them with personalized training and supervision in music, arts and sports by godparent mentors, providing them with optimal opportunity for success, and potentially advance toward a professional career in the field of their true passion. In order to reach its mission, LDF is helped by numerous godparents, sponsors and technical advisors. Orianne is a jewelry designer and philanthropist and serves as chairman of the Little Dreams Foundation.
“For 30 years The Miami Project has provided real hope to those living with paralysis. Today there is tangible evidence through our groundbreaking clinical trials that a cure for paralysis is within our grasp,” said Nick Buoniconti, Founder of The Buoniconti Fund. “Paralysis does not discriminate, a spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at any time, so we must continue to raise awareness and funds to support research that will ultimately lead to a cure for paralysis. We are honored that so many legendary athletes and influential figures continue to help us stand up for those who cannot.”
Our “Legend Alumni” and Honorees include Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Tony Hawk, Cal Ripken, Jr., Gloria Estefan, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, George Foreman, Julio Iglesias, Helio Castroneves, Troy Aikman, Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Joe Namath, Pedro Martinez, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dan Marino, Mike Piazza, Pat Riley, Grant Hill, Bill Cowher, Kelly Slater, Joe Torre and many other athletes and heroes who recognize that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and everyday lives.
The 30th anniversary event is expected to sell out and raise millions of dollars for the spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 300 sports legends and honorees and has raised more than $100 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs. The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, through the research efforts of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, is committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again.
Sponsorships and opportunities to sit with legends are also available. The evening will begin with cocktails, then a performance by The Pointer Sisters, followed by dinner and a performance by The Beach Boys and then the awards presentation. For more information about The Buoniconti Fund and to take part in the conversation on social media, please visit Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtags #CureParalysis and #GSLD30.
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