This year’s Reid & Fiorentino Call of The Game Dinner, a Miami Heat charity gala at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, had a little bit of everything.
There was the strange: Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, she of the 2013 Havana to Key West swim, got up on stage to play “Reveille” on the bugle. And she didn’t do too bad of a job either.
And the classy: Nyad was the recipient of the Jim Mandich Courage Award, and rightfully pointed out that her 110-mile swim at 64 doesn’t come close to the odds that paraplegic former football player Marc Bueniconti, who sat near the stage, faces every morning when he wakes up.
And the brushes with greatness.
Jack Nicklaus, 77, the greatest golfer of all time, got a sports legend award from former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, 87, arguably one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time.
Nicklaus fawned all over Shula, but this, after all, was a Heat dinner.
“I’ve been glued to my TV set for weeks to watch the Heat to see who is going to step up on a particular night,” Nicklaus told the crowd of about 800. To wild applause, he forecast the Heat will make the NBA playoffs.
And there was the good.
The dinner fundraiser was expected to raise in excess of $500,000 for Lauren’s Kids, an anti-child abuse nonprofit started by Florida Sen. Lauren Book and the Dade Schools Athletic Foundation, which funds sports programs in public schools.
Spotted mingling with the crowd: Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra and wife Nikki; retired Heat center Alonzo Mourning and wife Tracy; Heat lobbyist Ron Book, who’s one of the organizers; and Local 10 News anchor Calvin Hughes, who also emceed.