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Advancement of Blacks in Sports Recognizes Notable Athletes and Execs During Fundraising Weekend 

Gaby M. Rojas
Chris Spencer, actor and comedian, and host for the evening with Ryan Clark, former safety in the NFL, current ESPN analyst, with a young guest

Advancement of Blacks in Sports (ABIS) held its 2nd Annual Champions & Legends Fundraising Weekend, “Our Race. Our Playbook.” June 2 – June 4, 2023 in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. The three-day event included a community service project, professional development sessions, a fundraising gala, and a gospel brunch. The highlight of the weekend’s events was the Champions & Legends gala presentation of awards to the following distinguished honorees:

  • Tracy McGrady, NBA Hall of Famer: ABIS Inspirational Award 
  • Nikki Fargas, President of the WNBA, Las Vegas Aces: ABIS Executive Excellence Award
  • Chuck D, Rap Legend from Public Enemy: ABIS John Carlos & Tommie Smith Social Justice Champion Award
  • Tony Reagins, Team USA Baseball General Manager: ABIS Ulice Payne Ambassador Award
  • Ryan Clark, ESPN Analyst: ABIS William C. Rhoden Sports Media Award 
  • Edwin Moses, Olympian Track & Field Coach: ABIS Hall of Fame Award
  • Asjia O’Neal, U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team: Collegiate Athlete of the Year
  • Ndidi Massay, Vice President of Workplace Culture and Diversity Initiatives, CBS Sports: ABIS Sonny Vaccaro Champion of Change Award
Tricia Messeroux, chief creative officer and member of the ABIS Board of Directors, with Jada Peacock, Hofstra graduate, played guard for the Hofstra women’s basketball team, and successfully completed the ABIS financial coaching program

ABIS Founder and CEO, Gary Charles, started the organization three years ago after being deeply moved by the events of 2020 and the constant racial injustices that were impacting our society. Knowing that he needed to do something to help advocate for racial equity, and social and economic justice, Mr. Charles decided to use his platform in sports as the vehicle to drive change. 

To date, ABIS has helped to increase the number of Black athletes, Black coaches, athletic directors and administrators represented in collegiate and professional sports. ABIS has also graduated dozens of students from its financial literacy program which provides students in college sports with the information and skills they need to ensure their financial health during college and beyond. 

Chris Spencer, actor and comedian, and host for the evening with Ryan Clark, former safety in the NFL, current ESPN analyst, with a young guest

During the awards show, hosted by comedian Chris Spencer, eight honorees were presented awards for their varying achievements throughout their careers and the impact they have to affect change for racial equality and gender equity in the sports world. The event also recognized a graduate of the ABIS financial coaching program.
To learn more about the ABIS Financial Program, visit weareabis.org/financial-coaching/.

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