While Central Expressway was backed up to Richardson on Friday, May 9, the cools and ultra-cools were gathering at the Omni for the super-duper gala prepping for the Emmitt Smith Invitational the next morning. Included in the mix were Roger Staubach after whom the Roger Staubach Award was named, and Magic Johnson, who had been dragged into the Donald Sterling mess. Here’s a report from the field:
“Almost 1,000 guests packed the Omni Dallas Hotel for the Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational, presented by SoftLayer, on Friday, May 9. They were there to pay tribute to Earvin “Magic” Johnson– an iconic NBA superstar who has inspired millions on and off the court with his philanthropy who also happens to be a powerhouse entrepreneur – and his wife Cookie as they received the first-ever Roger Staubach Award.
“And before the weekend was over, $1 million had been raised for the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, which creates and funds unique educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for underserved children.
“The Staubach Award has been established “to recognize individuals who have brought together the world of sports/entertainment and business to make an extraordinary impact on the lives of children and youth.” Named for the legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback and real estate icon, the award is given to recipients who exemplify excellence personally, professionally and philanthropically. It is the only award to be named in Staubach’s honor other than one established at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.
“Guests entered the Friday Night Party, sponsored by Albertsons,on the traditional “Dallas Cowboy” blue carpet, sponsored by Cigna. When Emmitt and Pat Smith, Roger and Marianne Staubach and guests-of-honor Cookie and Magic Johnson arrived at the same time, it was a mad crush as the three couples posed for pictures, and a throng of photographers fired away.
“Pat and Emmitt’s longtime friend, Alfonso Ribeiro (best known as Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) emceed the event, launching the program with the famous Carlton dance to Tom Jones hit It’s Not Unusual.
“Former Dallas Mavs great Mark Aguirre gave a heartfelt introduction to the buddy he met thirty-something years ago, presenting Magic and Cookie with a sterling trophy created by Tiffany & Co.
“Magic said that, as he got toward the end of his NBA career, he was looking for a role model outside of sports to follow, ‘someone with a blueprint for giving back and touching the world … but also to show me that athletes could be business leaders.’
“Magic started reading up on Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach, a person he idolized because of his success and grace moving from the football field to the boardroom ‘without missing a beat.’
“’I decided that’s who I want to be like – Roger Staubach. I’ve been chasing this man for years like a big defensive lineman,’ said Magic.
“Magic added that he was thrilled to get the award from his close friends Emmitt and Pat noting, ‘I’m going to get my hero’s award; this is crazy.’
“Magic also praised Pat and Emmitt for their generosity, love and good work benefiting the Team 22 students, who are being mentored and provided with incredible opportunities, and the thousands of North Texas youth.
“When Roger Staubach took to the podium, he started by jokingly stating that he was ‘glad to be alive because most of these kind of awards come after you’re dead.’ He also expressed his enormous respect for and deep friendship with the Johnson and Smith families.
“He added that he and Magic have played hoops together in the Staubach’s backyard, although Roger was quick to point out that it was just HORSE!
“’I can’t think of a better way to kick off our fifth year than with a new award named after our good friend and hero, Roger Staubach,’ said Pat Smith. ‘And it’s such a thrill to give the first award to Cookie and Magic, an incredible power couple who have set the bar very high and been a true inspiration to Emmitt and me.’
“After the program, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Darius Rucker sang over an hour and finished by donating a guitar that he and Emmitt signed. It was auctioned off for $25,000.”
“Alfonso later joined Emerald City to perform Billie Jean, channeling his good friend Michael Jackson with his high notes and dance routine.
“Christie and Robert Ferguson and Marion and Bennett Glazer were the weekend’s honorary chairs. Event chairs were Lisa and Steve Lieberman. Other major sponsors that presented events leading up to the tournament include Ascientia Dallas, Faye C. Briggs, Waste Management, Healthcare Highways, Brown Forman – Tequila Herradura, Big D Party Rentals, GoVision, Dee Lincoln’s Dining Room & Bubble Bar, Starpower, Metro Linen and Murray Media.
“Table sponsors for the evening include Andrews Distributing, Fluor Corporation, Jan and Jeff Rich, WorldLink, The Saint Hotel New Orleans, Southlake Medical Supplies, Inc., Marianne and Roger Staubach and Weber & Company.
“There were celebs aplenty from NBA, WNBA, NFL and Major League Baseball and a local star of TV’s The Bachelor (Jake Pavelka) – Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, Joe Carter, Richard Dent, Eric Dickerson, Michael Finley, Charles Haley, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, Jay Humphrey, Rickey Jackson, Daryl Johnston, David Justice, Nancy Lieberman, Kenny Lofton, Roland Martin, Coach Will Muschamp, David Nelson, Nate Newton, Drew Pearson, Preston Pearson, Alfonso Ribeiro, Donna Richardson, Trent Richardson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Winfred Tubbs, Nick Van Exel, Clay Walker, Spud Webb and Darren Woodson.
“During the Saturday golf tourney held at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney and sponsored by American Airlines, the $1 million mark was hit, thanks to fundraising held on the course and a special donation from Healthcare Highways owner Michael Wilson. The Ryan Foundation presented breakfast and lunch; DAPPER Magazine presented the “Dapper Den” gifting suite; Informatica presented the driving range; and Park Place Lexus presented the VIP Pavilion. Food for the award ceremony was donated by Cattleack BBQ. Scott Murray was the master of ceremonies.
“The team led by Kenny Lofton, MLB All-Star and Golden Glove winner, won the tournament. They were sponsored by the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities.
“Other major Saturday Supporters were Bethany Healthcare, ESmith Realty Partners, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation, Cookie and Gary McCollum, PlainsCapital Bank, Reliant Home Health, Service King Collision Repair Centers, Shell, Todd Wagner Foundation, Tolleson Wealth Management, Fossil Group, Pegasus Ablon, Jones Lang LaSalle, Beth and Jim Gold and The Plank Companies.
“A portion of the proceeds from the weekend will be distributed to beneficiaries in North Texas chosen through a grant process this summer. Applications and criteria can be found at www.patandemmittsmithcharities.org. Other proceeds will be used to fund the Smith’s own Team 22 to attend Camp Champions, travel to Washington DC and participate in other unique experience throughout the year.”
* Photos provided by 2014 Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational