A superstar group of sports professionals will be honored at the Buoniconti Fund’s annual Sports Legends Dinner on Monday in New York. This year’s class includes Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese, basketball Hall of Famer Ray Allen, baseball home-run record holder Alex Rodriguez and Fort Lauderdale’s tennis great Chris Evert, among other sporting superstars.
Hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and his son Marc, the dinner serves to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. When he was 19 years old, Marc suffered a tackle that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. He has supported spinal cord injury research ever since and has raised more than $100 million through the Great Sports Legends Dinner, now in its 33rd year.
“The event is always incredible, inspirational, and it touches your heart,” Marc explains. “What makes it special is that we get to honor some incredible legends, who lend their names and care enough.”
A longtime family friend of the Buonicontis, Bob Griese has been supporting altruistic causes for a long time, especially cancer research, and wouldn’t miss a chance to help the victims of accidents that “could have happened to anyone.”
A two-time Super Bowl champion with the Miami Dolphins, Griese salutes recent efforts to protect football players — especially youths — from longtime harm. “Today we see more violent collisions than in the ‘70s, and people are recognizing that it needs to become a safer game.”
“We’re talking about injuries with the nervous system involved, so studies of traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injury are well connected,” adds Buoniconti.