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Annual Gala Honors True Heroes of Sports

The Institute for Sport  & Social Justice announced that its Annual Giant Steps and Hall of Fame Gala will be in-person on December 15th at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. This capstone event honors a diverse group of individuals from the world of sport who inspire and motivate those around them to strive for greatness in all facets of life.

The Institute is housed at the University of Central Florida. Previous gala honorees and inductees include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robin Roberts, Carmelo Anthony, Jordyn Wieber, among many others.

This year’s Giant Steps Honorees include:

Courageous Student-Athletes:
Natalie Chou
Former UCLA Women’s Basketball and Professional Basketball Player in Europe

Justin Hardy (posthumous)
Washington University Men’s Basketball

Tasha Butts
Associate Head Coach, Georgia Tech

Barrier Breaker:
Allyson Felix
Five-time Olympian and 11-time Olympic medalist and activist

A Hero Among Us:
Jothy Rosenberg
Founder, Who Says I Can’t Foundation

Civic Leader:
Thaddeus Bullard
former collegiate, professional, arena football player, and WWE star

Hall of Fame Inductee:
Oksana Masters
Most Decorated U.S. Paralympian

“I am so moved by this year’s Giant Steps Honorees and our Hall of Fame Inductee,” said Richard Lapchick, Founder and President of the Institute. “Sharing their stories will inspire everyone to do more to use the power of sport to heal our world.”

“We are thrilled to be back in person to celebrate some of the true heroes of sport,” says Dr. Jeffrey O’Brien, CEO of The Institute. “This year’s honorees embody our belief in the transcendent power sport to change the world and will inspire us all with their courage and grit. Please join us for a transformational evening!”

Giant Steps honorees are selected in conjunction with celebration of National STUDENT-Athlete Day, celebrated annually on April 6th. National STUDENT-Athlete Day honors high school and college student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics, while contributing to their communities. Since its inception in 1987, over 4.4 million student-athletes have been recognized. National STUDENT-Athlete Day is one of America’s strongest endeavors promoting the positive virtues of sport, student-athletes as a whole, and the positive effects they both have on society.

The networking reception will begin at 5:30pm and the Gala will begin promptly at 6:30pm.  To become a sponsor or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Suzi Katz at

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