After Mayor Thomas M. Menino introduced Martinez, he said he considered himself a Bostonian, but that the Lifetime Achievement Award he received made him a “Bostonian for life.”
Other honorees included former Celtics great Robert Parish, Patriots’ two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, former Yale rower Chris Ernst, and former Revolution defender Alexi Lalas.
A poignant moment of the ceremony came when Harrison said, “The reason why I’m here is Junior Seau.” Harrison said that Seau inspired him to play the way he played all the time, including practice.
“The biggest compliment I got when I retired was when Bill Bellichick said I was the best practice player he’s ever had.”
Seau recently took his own life by shooting himself in the chest, raising awareness for concussions and health concerns in the NFL.
Harrison chose his wife, Erika, to present the Football Legacy Award to him to show people how important his wife was to his career.
“I’ve gone through multiple injuries, devastating injuries,” he said. Nobody really understands the impact it makes on the family. Who has to deal with it? The wife.”
Sportscaster and former Celtic Bill Walton introduced Parish, “The Chief,” who bowed to the crowd after accepting the Basketball Legacy Award. Walton repeatedly said, “Hail to the Chief,” and cracked jokes.
Parish, a four-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, drew laughs from the crowd when comparing Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
“Bird was slow, couldn’t jump,” he said, noting both had unparalleled determination.
Jacobs was introduced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who said Jacobs, “wants to win more than anything else for Boston.”
Jacobs was honored for last year’s Stanley Cup but also for his commitment to community service and philanthropic contributions.
In light of the 40th anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, Ernst, captain of 1976 Yale women’s crew and gold medalist at the 1986 world championships, was honored.
“There’s nobody I’m more impressed with in this room than [Ernst],” said sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, who presented the Special Achievement Award to Ernst along with Mary Mazzio, who created an award-winning film about Ernst called “A Hero for Daisy.”
The Revolution’s leading career goal scorer Taylor Twellman called Lalas “a pioneer for our sport.” Lalas was a member of the 1994 US World Cup team and helped spark interest in soccer in America.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer