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Three Iconic Sports Legends Turn Out to Celebrate YMCA of Greater Springfield’s 160th Anniversary

Springfield, MA (April 17, 2012) – Given the YMCA of Greater Springfield’s history with the game of basketball, it is only fitting that a celebration of the organization’s 160th Anniversary will be held at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature a keynote address by successful sports and business leader Mannie Jackson and Boston Globe sportswriters and ESPN commentators, Jackie MacMullan and Bob Ryan.  

MacMullan and Ryan, both Basketball Hall of Fame Award winners, will together share with guests their thoughts and experiences covering the celebrated Boston sports teams with a special concentration on the Boston Celtics at the YMCA gala to be held on June 18 at 6 PM at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Further, attendees of the celebration will hear a keynote address from Mannie Jackson, a former player for the Harlem Globetrotters who, after a successful business career, purchased the Globetrotters from near bankruptcy and extinction reinvigorating one of America’s most popular sports brands. Jackson will share stories and insights from his life beginning with literally being born in a railway boxcar, to becoming the first African American player at the University of Illinois, to becoming the President of a unit of Honeywell Corporation, and his ultimate purchase of the Globetrotters and his experiences around the world with the team. Jackson now is a philanthropist and author, including a recently released book that chronicles his inspiring journey called “Boxcar to Boardrooms; My Memories and Travels.” The book is on sale now www.boxcarholding.com with all proceeds donated to cancer research and the I-LEAP Academic Scholarship Program.

“We are extremely honored to be joined by these three amazingly talented sports icons,” says Kirk Smith, President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Springfield. “I couldn’t ask for a better way to commemorate our 160th anniversary than with them at Center Court of the Basketball Hall of Fame.”

160th Anniversary Celebration
Tickets to the June 18 celebration are available by contacting Peggy Graveline, Development Assistant, YMCA of Greater Springfield, at pgraveline@springfieldy.org or by calling 413.739.6951 x179. Tickets are $160/each, or $1,500 for a table of 10. All proceeds from the event will benefit the YMCA of Greater Springfield’s 2012 Annual Scholarship Campaign.

For 160 years, the YMCA of Greater Springfield has been providing wide-ranging programs to support education, health and wellness, and social responsibility. As “one association,” the YMCA of Greater Springfield serves 14 cities and towns throughout the region. With a team of over 500 employees and volunteers, the Y operates three family centers and eight outreach centers and camps throughout the greater Springfield region, serving well over 100,000 youth, families and seniors each year. Each year, the Y provides over $500,000 in scholarship assistance to those in need.  

About Mannie Jackson
Mannie Jackson is President of Boxcar Holdings LLC, former Chairman of the Board of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Chairman of the Board and former owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, and Chairman and Founder of the Executive Leadership Council. After a brief professional basketball career including the Globetrotters, Jackson went on to distinguish himself in corporate life as a senior executive with Honeywell, Inc, and as one of the first African Americans to serve on multiple (six) Fortune 500 Boards of Directors.

About MacMullan and Ryan
Jackie MacMullan is an ESPN analyst and columnist for ESPNBOSTON.com. In 1982, she joined the Boston Globe, serving as a columnist and associate editor until March 2008. From there, she earned acclaim as an NBA reporter for Sports Illustrated, followed by her work as a contributor for CNN/SI, the 24-hour news network. In her years at the Globe, MacMullan covered events such as the 1986 World Series, the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals and the 1988 Olympic Games, as well as numerous NCAA Final Fours and NBA championships. She was the first woman to ever receive the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where she played basketball.

Bob Ryan is a sports columnist for the Boston Globe, who recently announced his retirement following the upcoming London Olympics. He is a regular panelist on ESPN's Sunday morning roundtable, The Sports Reporters. He has been writing for the Globe since the 1970s covering all of the Boston sports teams and has been a columnist since 1989. Ryan would cover 21 NBA finals, 29 NCAA Final Fours, 11 World Series, 11 Super Bowls, eight U.S. Open Golf Championships, six British Opens, four Ryder Cups, four Masters, two PGAs and the last 10 Olympics.  The five-time NSSA National Sportswriter of the Year won the Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.  He is a graduate of Boston College.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kristine Allard, VP of Development & Communications at kallard@springfieldy.org or 413.739.6951 x172.