25th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner Raises More Than $17 million

Special Guests of the 25th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner Included President Bill Clinton, Willie Mays, Bill Russell, Tom Brokaw and many more.

Evening Included Performances by Donna Summer and The Pointer Sisters

SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 – NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc hosted an impressive crowd of more than 1,400 guests for the 25th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner, at the Waldorf=Astoria to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. Event Presenting Sponsor Stewart Rahr addressed the crowd and most generously donated $2 million for the event as well as underwrote Marc Buoniconti’s new book, Paralyzed set to launch in 2011. Christine E. Lynn received the 2010 Outstanding Philanthropist Award and wowed the audience by donating $10 million to fund the Schwann and Stem Cell Human Clinical Trials Initiatives.

Former President Bill Clinton surprised the sold out affair by walking on stage to congratulate Nick and Marc in their mission as well as recognize his friend Rahr. The silver anniversary celebration raised more than $17 million and guests included sports legends, celebrities, philanthropic heroes and corporate leaders who all gathered to support paralysis and spinal cord injury research.

The 2010 Great Sports Legends Willie Mays, Bill Russell, Michael Irvin, Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras, Annika Sorenstam, Brian Leetch, Laird Hamilton and Calvin Borel each were introduced by spectacular career highlight reels produced by HBO Sports before they accepted their Tiffany & Co. awards on stage by sports broadcaster and the evening’s Master of Ceremonies Bob Costas. Costas welcomed devoted benefactors Barbara and Jack Nicklaus to the stage to receive the 2010 Inspiration Award, NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino to receive the 2010 Buoniconti Fund Award and longtime Buoniconti Fund supporter Tom Brokaw received the 2010 American Icon Award.

“To be surrounded by this much compassion and support for a cause that is so meaningful to me and my family, is truly overwhelming.  For twenty five years, our researchers have made discoveries and strides, and now, we are happy to move that work into humans with our upcoming clinical trials.  Our researchers are changing the way the medical profession looks at and treats paralysis,” said Nick Buoniconti, Founder of The Buoniconti Fund.

Notables in attendance included Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Donald Trump, Olympian Skater Dorothy Hamill, NFL NY Giants Hall of Famer Harry Carson, CBS Sportscaster Lesley Visser,  Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 10 x Olympic Medalist in Swimming Gary Hall, Jr, 1968 Olympic Long Jump Medalist Bob Beamon, MLB Great Scott Erickson, Former Miami Dolphin Earl Morrall, actress and model Christie Brinkley,  Former Miami Dolphin Nat Moore, Super Bowl MVP with the Redskins Mark Rypien, Former MLB Player with the Mets and Yankees Phil Linz, Former Miami Dolphin Super Bowl Champion Dick Anderson, NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Jockey legend Jerry Bailey, 10 x Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, Olympic Bobsledding Gold Medalist Steve Holcomb, famous pop artist Romero Britto and Friday Night Lights star Brad Leland…and so many others.

The VIP reception was sponsored by Carnival Corporation & plc. and the Vehicle Production Group, responsible for the MV-1, the first vehicle designed specifically for wheelchair accessibility. Supporting sponsors for the evening included Continental Airlines, Tiffany & Co., and Philip Knight of Nike.