25th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner

Bob Costas Returns as Emcee for New York Fundraiser

Willie Mays

Celebrating a quarter-century of honoring champions while working toward a cure for paralysis, the 25th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner, presented by Stewart Rahr, will be held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Monday, September 27. Bob Costas returns as the Master of Ceremonies for the much anticipated event, which benefits The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, a nonprofit which serves as the fundraising arm of The Miami Project, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center.

The silver anniversary of the Great Sports Legends Dinner will celebrate the fundraising efforts of the Buoniconti family, Founder Dr. Barth Green and numerous longtime Buoniconti Fund supporters who continue to stand up for those who can’t. This year represents a major milestone for The Miami Project, which was founded in 1985 by Dr. Green and NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti on behalf of his son, Marc Buoniconti. Since then, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 274 sports legends and honorees and raised more than a staggering $53 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs.

The 2010 Great Sports Legends include:
• Willie Mays – MLB Hall of Famer, 24-time All-Star selection, elected to the MLB All-Century Team
• Bill Russell – NBA Hall of Famer, named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history
• Michael Irvin – NFL Hall of Famer, Dallas Cowboys three-time Super Bowl champion
• Annika Sörenstam – World Golf Hall of Famer, female golfer with the most wins, with 90 international tournament wins including 72 LPGA tournaments and ten majors
• Brian Leetch – NY Rangers Hall of Fame defenseman and Stanley Cup Winner
• Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras – Argentinean polo player, captain of the Black Watch Polo Team, regarded as one of the best polo players in the world
• Laird Hamilton – Known as the “Greatest and Bravest Big Wave Surfer” in history
• Calvin Borel – Four-time Triple Crown winner with more than 4,700 overall career wins

Also to be honored during the star-studded evening:
• Stewart Rahr – Presenting Sponsor of the 25th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner
• Christine E. Lynn – Outstanding Philanthropist Award Recipient
• Jack and Barbara Nicklaus – Inspiration Award Recipient
• Tom Brokaw – American Icon Award Recipient, former longtime NBC News Anchor, nine-time Emmy Award winner and member of Television Academy Hall of Fame
• Dan Marino – Miami Dolphins NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, 1984 MVP and 9 Times selected to the Pro Bowl

Bob Costas, Master of Ceremonies


Expected once again to sell out and raise millions of dollars for spinal cord injury research, the event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be held in the famed Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria. A cocktail reception and Buy-it-Now store, which will include one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia and other items, will precede the dinner where each of the legends and honorees accepts their award.

The evening’s presenting sponsor is businessman and philanthropist Stewart Rahr. Supporting sponsors include Continental Airlines, Carnival Corporation & plc., Tiffany & Co., and the Vehicle Production Group, responsible for the MV-1, the first vehicle designed specifically for wheelchair accessibility.

“The last 25 years has lifted our hearts and hopes to a new level of determination to find a cure for paralysis,” offered Nick Buoniconti, Founder of The Miami Project and The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and defensive captain of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. “It is gratifying to celebrate our 25 year milestone in the presence of such a special group of honorees who truly represent excellence across sports and humanity. Together, I am confident that we will soon find a cure for spinal cord injuries and that my son and others affected by paralysis will rise from their wheelchairs and walk again.”

Dan Marino

Great Sports Legends and Honorees include: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Wayne Gretzky, Tony Hawk, Jack Nicklaus, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Cal Ripken, Jr., Don Shula, Andre Agassi, Dara Torres, Joe DiMaggio, Jerry Rice, George Foreman, Mia Hamm, Troy Aikman, Mike Piazza, Gary Player, Tommy Lee Jones, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Joe Montana, Mario Andretti, Joe Namath, John Elway, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Orr, Johnny Bench, Julius Erving, Yogi Berra, Walter Cronkite, Brett Hull, Mike Ditka, Dorothy Hamill, Gloria Estefan, Chris Evert, Bruce Jenner, Jim Kelly, Sugar Ray Leonard, Pat Riley, Al Unser, Jr., and other prestigious athletes and heroes who have recognized that paralyzing injuries can and do occur in the pursuit of athletic careers and their everyday lives.

Tickets start at $850 per person. Sponsorships and opportunities to sit with legends are available. Tables and tickets can be purchased by phone at (305) 243-4656 or at The Buoniconti Fund website.