Great Sports Legends Dinner a Huge Success for The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Celebrities, sports legends, corporate leaders and more joined NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, his son Marc, and Event Chair Mark Dalton as they hosted a sold-out crowd of guests September 30 in celebration of the 28th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner. Held at New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria, the dinner paid tribute to philanthropic heroes and sports icons who inspire and motivate those affected by spinal cord injuries and raised important funds for research at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, including the Human Clinical Trials Initiative.

Bob Costas, NBC Sports Anchor, served as master of ceremonies of the dinner, supporting the efforts of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and honoring this year’s Great Sports Legends: Terry Bradshaw, James Worthy, Dave Winfield, Nick Faldo, Shawn Johnson, Gary Stevens, Antron Brown and Teresa Edwards.

Hall of Fame quarterback, four-time AFC champion and Pro Bowl player Jim Kelly was presented with the 2013 Inspiration Award, and two-time NBA champion player and NBA TV analyst Kenny Smith was honored with The 2013 Buoniconti Fund Award.

“This year, The Miami Project conducted the first-ever FDA-approved human Schwann cell transplantations in acute spinal cord injury patients. This historic moment could not have happened without the funds raised each year at the annual Great Sports Legends Dinner,” said Nick Buoniconti, Founder of The Buoniconti Fund. “The continued passionate support for The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project means a great deal to our mission to find a cure for paralysis.”

A few special donors were so moved by the evening that they made donations on the spot to help fund the important research at The Miami Project. Philanthropist Stewart Rahr donated $2.2 million to fund 10 chronically injured patients in the next clinical trial. Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon generously gave another $1 million in support of SCI research, as he did last year.

The annual event benefits The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and raises money to support the cutting-edge spinal cord injury research conducted at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored nearly 300 sports legends and honorees and has raised millions for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs.

Additional notables in attendance included NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson, NHL Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, Grammy winning producer and musician Emilio Estefan, Olympian Gary Hall Jr., Friday Night Lights’ Brad Leland, Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle, NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen, actor Colin Egglesfield from Something Borrowed and The Client List, former Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Fielder, and many more.

The live auction offered a unique opportunity to golf with the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus; a one-of-a-kind FIFA World Cup Package; an Iconic New York Package presented by Tiffany & Co.; a Notre Dame football package; and a Masters Golf experience.

Sponsors for the evening were HBO Sports, Tiffany & Co., Diageo, United Airlines and Barton G.

For more information about The Buoniconti Fund, please visit, Facebook, or Twitter.

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