IBF Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko, who is preparing for his November 11 bout with Calvin Brock at Madison Square Garden was in New York last week to attend the 21st Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis on September 19th at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The dinner raised more than $4 million for spinal cord injury research.
“We are overwhelmed by the help we have received over the last 21 years,” said NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, who co-founded The Miami Project with Dr. Barth A. Green. “We are continuing to make significant progress toward finding a cure for paralysis and our work is made possible by the loyalty of our many supporters.”
For the past 21 years, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 220 star athletes for their great athletic achievement and raised more than $33 million for spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The dinner has become known for uniting individuals from the sports, business and entertainment industries. More than 1,300 people attended this year’s gala event, which honors Great Sports Legends from different athletic categories.
The 2006 Great Sports Legends are: Lance Armstrong, Patrick Ewing, Emmitt Smith, Wade Boggs, Michael Irvin, Dean Smith, Tony Hawk, John Vanbiesbrouck, Michael Chang and Beverly Kearney.
Michal Irvin accepted his Legend medal and one on behalf of his former teammate Emmitt Smith to go along with their Super Bowl rings. Smith was on ABC’s live TV show, Dancing with the Stars and said on air, “Tonight I was trying to dance for the people who could not dance and so I danced for the Buoniconti Foundation. I couldn’t be at the charity event tonight. They are trying to find a way to cure paralysis so I support all those guys.”
Desert Storm Military Commander General H. Norman Schwarzkopf was recognized as the Great American Icon. The Chambers Family received the Buoniconti Fund Humanitarian Award, and Ameristar Casinos Chairman and CEO Craig H. Neilsen was honored as this year’s Outstanding Business Leader. Tom Brokaw again served as the Master of Ceremonies.
This year’s group of legends joined a prestigious list of past honorees including: Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Mickey Mantle, Tony Dorsett, Ozzie Smith, Dan Marino, Greg Norman, Gloria Estefan, Walter Cronkite, Chris Evert, Mia Hamm and many more.