27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner To Honor Shaquille O'Neal, Joe Torre, Alonzo Mourning, Emilio Estefan, Marshall Faulk, Mark Martin, Lisa Leslie And More

Aug 07, 2012, 06:00 ET from The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Annual Awards Dinner Will Pay Tribute to Philanthropic Heroes and Sports Legends to Benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, will host its 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria on Monday, September 24, 2012. NBC Sports Icon Bob Costas will once again return as Master of Ceremonies, hosting the dinner which pays tribute to philanthropic heroes and sports legends that inspire and motivate those affected by spinal cord injuries. The much anticipated event will assemble celebrities and corporate leaders to support the efforts of the Buoniconti Family, along with their numerous longtime supporters.

The star-studded event promises to be an unforgettable evening, as the 2012 Great Sports Legends are honored.  Legends honorees include:

  • Shaquille O'Neal, Four-time NBA Championship winner and one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players; leading the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive championships and a fourth championship with the Miami Heat, O'Neal is one of the NBA's most accomplished players;
  •  Joe Torre, Celebrated manager of the Yankees, who led the team to four World Series titles; two-time American League Manager of the year and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball;
  • Marshall Faulk, National Football League Hall of Fame inductee, Three-time Offensive Player of the Year and led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl Championship and was  named NFL MVP in 2000 and 10th leading rusher in NFL history;
  • Tony Perez,  Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member, whose number 24 was retired by the Cincinnati Reds in 2000 and two-time World Series Winner;
  • Mark Martin, NASCAR stock car driver in the Sprint Cup Series; named to the franchise  list of "50 Greatest Drivers of All Time," with 40 wins and 443 top tens;
  • Lorena Ochoa, Named LPGA's #1 female golfer from 2007 to 2010 and since 1989, Ochoa has won 129 local, national and international titles, including 27 LPGA events. Lorena is  considered Mexico's best golfer of all time;
  • Jake LaMotta, International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee recognized as one of the 10 greatest middleweights of all time. Nicknamed "The Raging Bull," the World Middleweight Champion was portrayed by Robert De Niro in the 1980 film Raging Bull.
  • Lisa Leslie, Three-time WNBA MVP, leading the Los Angeles Sparks to a WNBA Championship; first team sport athlete to win four consecutive Olympic Gold Medals;

Famed NBA Player and NBA Championship Winner, Alonzo Mourning, will be presented with The Buoniconti Fund Award and Grammy Award Winning Musician and Producer, Emilio Estefan, will be honored with The Outstanding Business Leader Award.

Held in the illustrious Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf= Astoria, the much anticipated event is not only expected to sell out, but also raise millions of dollars for the spinal cord injury research programs at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The evening will begin with cocktails, Tiffany & Co.'s Mystery Blue Box Wall and a Buy It Now Store where attendees can purchase one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia, amazing jewelry, spectacular getaways, a unique Kidz Korner and other exclusive items. The dinner program will feature a celebrity concert performance by legendary musicians, Earth, Wind & Fire. There will be a live auction boasting travel and entertainment packages, sports and music memorabilia, and experiences including the opportunity to golf with the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, all prior to the presentation of the evening's awards.

Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 283 sports legends and honorees and has raised more than $75 million for The Miami Project's spinal cord injury research programs.

"We are extremely honored to have so many legendary athletes, celebrities, corporate leaders and other influential figures on our side when it comes to raising awareness and funds to support finding a cure for paralysis," says Nick Buoniconti, Founder of The Buoniconti Fund. "Not only within the realm of sports do we see spinal cord injuries. Millions of people worldwide have suffered spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis. Our biggest hope through The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is that soon we will make medical history by finding a cure for paralysis."

Past Great Sports Legends and Honorees include: Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Dan Marino, Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Wayne Gretzky, Jack Nicklaus, Nancy Kerrigan, John Elway, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Mickey Mantle, Tony Hawk, Dorothy Hamill, Evander Holyfield, Jerry Rice, Lennox Lewis, Andre Agassi, Cal Ripken, Gloria Estefan, Walter Cronkite, Bill Parcells and many more.

Tickets start at $850 per person and can be purchased by phone at (305)-243-4656 or http://www.thebuonicontifund.com/GSLD.  Sponsorships and opportunities to sit with legends are available.  For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, please visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

For press inquiries, please contact: 5W Public Relations.

About The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund: In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick's son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Today, The Miami Project, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center and is housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center. The Miami Project's international team of more than 250 scientists, researchers and clinicians take innovative approaches to the challenge of spinal cord injury. Committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again, the Buoniconti family established The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in 1992, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting The Miami Project achieve its national and international goals. For more information, please visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com.

Media Contacts:
5W Public Relations
Jocelyn Kahn / Sherria Cotton
jkahn@5wpr.com / scotton@5wpr.com

SOURCE The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis