Sports Legends Honored in Ontario

Sports Legends Honored in Ontario

By Gary Montgomery
Photo by Jon Geade 

The California Sports Hall of Fame hold its 9th induction dinner in Ontario

(l-r) Danny (Little Red) Lopez, Lisa Fernandez, Christian Okoye, Warren Moon, Eric Dickerson, Bill Walton, Mike Garrett, unidentified member, Jamal Wilkes

(l-r) Danny (Little Red) Lopez, Lisa Fernandez, Christian Okoye, Warren Moon, Eric Dickerson, Bill Walton, Mike Garrett, unidentified member, Jamal Wilkes

The California Sports Hall of Fame chose Father’s Day to induct its 2015 class. It could not have been more appropriate. The 2015 class includes four of the finest gentlemen and fathers this country has ever produced: Warren Moon, Mike Garrett, Jamal Wilkes, Danny (Little Red) Lopez and Lisa Fernandez, the lone female inductee.

As a Mom, technically, Lisa’s special day was last month but the comparison still fits−accompanied by two of her adorable kids and oldest absent only because of a scheduling conflict with her softball game.

While being honored as one of the greatest softball players in California history, her daughter is out playing.

The five members of the 2015 class will join 55 other sports legends in the California Sports Hall of Fame.

The CSHOF was founded in 2007 by former Azusa Pacific and Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye. It was created as a vehicle to capture the passion that children and young adults have for sports and direct that energy toward enhancing their educational and personal goals.

Okoye, dubbed the “Nigerian Nightmare” during his playing days has channeled that same fierce determination that propelled him on the gridiron into building the CHOF into a successful organization.

Through the CSHOF and the power of its inductees, Okoye is able to reach a wide array of youth and deliver the message “Achieve Your Goals through Sports and Education.”

Approximately 300 former athletes, family, friends, and staff members filled the Ontario Convention Center banquet hall on Sunday evening to welcome the class of 2015.

Notable attendees included former inductees: Deacon Jones, Bill Walton and Eric Dickerson. Former players included, Henry Ellard, Ron Brown, Vinci Glenn, Reggie Berry and Joe Sweet just to name a few.

All of the legends in attendance were incredibly gracious to the guest and fans.

“This is a wonderful event. I can’t say enough about the job Christian has done,” beamed an overly exuberant Bill Walton a 2013 inductee and obvious fan.

Since its inception in 2007, the CHOF has enshrined 60 inductees, including tributes to several great teams like the 1974 UCLA Bruins’ team. Its website provides a display of the honorees by year and a biography of their amazing stories.

Gary Montgomery can be reached at gmontgomery@att.net 

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