Miami and Larry Little are two entities that fit together perfectly.
Little, now 67, grew up in Miami, going to the original Booker T. Washington High. He played football for the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent, then was traded to the Dolphins.
In Miami, he became a Hall of Fame pulling guard during the Don Shula era.
People have not forgotten Little, and Little has not forgotten his Miami roots. They mean too much to him.
This Friday, he will try to give something back to the area he loves so much with a charity golf tournament.
He has held the Larry Little Legends Golf Tournament for many years for various causes, but he has what he considers “a special cause” this year.
The tournament’s name includes “Swimming for Jenny” in honor of a South Dade girl who drowned because she fell into a lake and didn’t know how to swim.
The money raised from this year’s golf tournament will go to Miami-Dade programs to help children learn how to swim.
“A lot of families don’t have the money for swimming lessons, so that’s the idea behind the golf tournament,” Little said.
“I never met the little girl that drowned. ...,” Little added. “But friends of the family approached me and I thought it was a great idea. I’ve always cared about the youth of Dade County and this was a good fit to do something. I’m more than happy to put my name on it.”
There will be plenty of sports celebrities and football Hall of Famers in the sold-out, 144-player tournament, including ex-Dolphins receiver Paul Warfield, ex-Dolphins center Dwight Stephenson, ex-Cleveland Browns running back Leroy Kelly and ex-Houston Oilers defensive lineman Elvin Bethea.
The public is invited to attend the event at Crandon Golf Course, although Little can’t guarantee autographs except for giving some out himself.
“I’m not going to play, so I’ll probably have a little time,” he said.
Little’s commitment to Miami and its youth goes way back, although it almost didn’t happen.
Little had been playing for San Diego for two years when he got a call from the Dolphins, asking him how he would feel about coming home. At first, he wasn’t enamored with the idea.
“I was getting ready to make my home in San Diego when I was traded,” he said, “and I was being traded to an expansion-type team.”
He had little idea what was in front of him: fame and glory, Pro Bowls, The Perfect Season, Super Bowls, Hall of Fame induction and recognition as one of the best pulling guards ever.
“Miami has worked out pretty well in my life,” Little said.
And, in return, he thinks the least he can do is help the community with something as simple as a golf tournament that might save some young person’s life.