Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 | 11:33 a.m.
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All-star support to celebrate the life and legacy of “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, at the 16th annual Power of Love Keep Memory Alive Gala keeps growing for the Feb. 18 event at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Performers and VIP celebrity supporters now set to appear include Lenny Kravitz, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Legend, Queen Latifah, Kelly Rowland, Cee Lo Green, David Copperfield, Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Jim Brown, Randy Couture, Brad Garrett, James Gandolfini, Steve Schirripa, Chazz Palminteri, Sammy Hagar and yours truly.
Boxing icons scheduled to attend the celebration include Sugar Ray Leonard, Ken Norton, Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, Roberto Duran, Angelo Dundee and Leon Spinks. More big names from the entertainment and sports world will be added to the lineup as the event nears.
Tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime event are on sale at KeepMemoryAlive.org and (702) 263-9797. ABC is scheduled to air a tape-delayed broadcast of the gala Feb. 25 featuring performances and tributes from the entertainers and sports icons.
The arena will be transformed into a 70th birthday celebration for Ali designed to honor the boxing legend’s contributions to the world and raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s, the disease “The Champ” has been battling since 1984. Proceeds from the event benefit our Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s work of treatments and research of neurocognitive disorders and Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
“This year’s Power of Love Gala will bring attention and funds to the important work being done at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on a whole new scale,” said Larry Ruvo, Keep Memory Alive’s chairman. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to shed light on the fight to knock out neurocognitive disorders while celebrating the life and ongoing contributions of the legend, Muhammad Ali.”
In keeping with its 16-year history, the Power of Love Gala will showcase a celebrity chef-packed dinner featuring Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck, who has been named the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, there will be a Dom Perignon reception and live and silent auction items.
Gen. Colin Powell, who recently toured the downtown brain center and had lunch with Larry, is a longtime supporter of KMA and shot a video to salute the event and congratulate Ali on his 70th milestone.
The gala’s celebration for Ali aligns with the brain institute’s recent launch of a study examining the long-term brain health of professional fighters. Aiming to improve the safety and health of fighters, the study will help determine whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, along with other tests, can detect changes in brain health that correlate with impaired thinking and functioning. Researchers hope the research will result in ways to prevent permanent brain injury in not only fighters, but also others who may suffer from brain trauma.
Scott Sibella, president and COO of MGM Grand, said, “Hosting this event is an incredible honor for all of us at MGM Grand and our parent company, MGM Resorts International. The work that these organizations do to combat diseases that impact all of us is tremendously humbling, and we’re thrilled to be playing a small role in the fight.”
“Promoting a Muhammad Ali fight sparked my career in 1966, and I’ve had the very fortunate opportunity to be involved in his legendary journey,” said Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank, his Las Vegas-based professional boxing promotion company. “I’ve seen my career come full circle by celebrating the remarkable life of a boxing legend and supporting his fight to end brain disorders.”
The benefit weekend continues with Kravitz hosting an additional performance with special guest Raphael Saadiq on Feb. 19 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Proceeds also benefit KMA and the Ali Center. Tickets are available at TicketMaster.com, MGMGrand.com and at (800) 745-3000.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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