Greater Tulsa Reporter
Shannon Miller, the most decorated Olympic gymnast in American History, and Chris Herren, former NBA player for the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, will be the keynote speakers at this year’s Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards. Sportscaster Chris Lincoln has been named Master of Ceremonies at the prestigious black-tie-optional event to be held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on June 26.
Shannon Miller was the first female recipient of the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in 1994. She remains the Most Decorated Olympic Gymnast in American History with seven Olympic medals. She is the only American to rank among the Top 10 All-Time gymnasts and is the only female athlete to be inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame twice, Individual in 2006 and Team in 2008.
She has won 59 International and 49 National competition medals. Over half of these have been gold. She is the first U.S. gymnast to win two World All-Around Titles and she is the first American female to medal in the individual all-around of a non-boycotted Olympics. Her tally of five medals (two silver, three bronze) at the 1992 Olympics was the most medals won by a U.S. athlete in any sport. At the ‘96 Games, she led the “Magnificent Seven” to the U.S. Women’s first-ever Team Gold and for the first time for any American gymnast, she captured gold on the Balance Beam.
After retiring from Olympic competition, Miller received her undergraduate degrees in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and her law degree from Boston College. She then moved from Olympic athlete to advocate for the health and wellness of women and children.
Miller launched her company, Shannon Miller Lifestyle: Health and Fitness for Women, which empowers women to make their health a priority through programs, education and awareness.
In 2011, Miller was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. She had the baseball-sized tumor removed successfully and followed up with an aggressive chemotherapy regimen. Now cancer free, she continues to be a strong advocate for awareness and early detection.
Miller has taken the lessons she learned through the obstacles she faced as an elite athlete, as a young adult and those from her journey with cancer to publish an inspirational new book: It’s Not About Perfect: Competing for my Country and Fighting for my Life.
Chris Herren was a high school basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, who scored over 2,000 career points while at Durfee High School and was named to the 1994 McDonald’s AllAmerican team. Herren realized his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999 and then was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics, in 2000. After suffering a season-ending injury as a Celtic, Herren went on to play in five countries, including Italy, Poland, Turkey, China and Iran.
Herren struggled with substance abuse for much of his basketball career. Alcohol and drug-free since Aug. 1, 2008, he has refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else. He shares his harrowing story of abuse and recovery in his memoir, Basketball Junkie, as well as in numerous interviews throughout the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary Unguarded, of which he is the subject.
In June 2009, he launched Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren, a basketball player development company that offers basketball training, camps and clinics to top basketball prospects in New England. Off the court, Herren continues to share his story with audiences in the hopes of reaching just one person and making a difference in his or her life. In inspiring presentations, he draws on his own history to convince audiences that it is never too late to follow your dreams and urges audience members to overcome their setbacks and start making the right choices.
To support this vision, he founded The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing treatment navigation, educational and mentoring programs to those touched by addiction and to educate people of all ages on the dangers of substance abuse. In 2012, The Herren Project launched a national anti-substance abuse campaign, Project Purple, to encourage people of all ages to stand up to substance abuse. Since 2012, it is estimated that over 300,000 teens nationwide have taken the pledge to make good choices, standing up and together against drugs and alcohol. The Herren Project continues to make a significant impact nationwide one person, one family at a time.
Returning as master of ceremonies will be Chris Lincoln who emceed the eighth annual awards in 2001.
For more than four decades, Lincoln has been covering sports. He has been to 48 states and traveled to 16 foreign countries on four continents.
He started his sports career in high school in Warren, Michigan, writing for the school newspaper, yearbook and the Royal Oak Tribune. At the University of Missouri, he was active in covering sports.
In 1974, he became sports director at KTUL. He also hosted the University of Oklahoma’s national football replay show with Coach Barry Switzer. At the same time, he hosted shows for OSU, TU and ORU. He produced numerous sports specials and did play-by-play of many sports events for the station.
In 1976, he was tabbed by ABC sports as one of the network’s four regional college football play-by-play announcers and later did college and Canadian pro football and basketball play-by-play for ESPN.
Lincoln left KTUL at the end of 1981 to form Winner Communications (now Winnercomm), a television sports production company, with former leading KTUL salesman, Jim Wilburn. The two built the company into the nation’s largest independently-owned sports production company with over 200 employees in Tulsa and another 2,000 independent contractors across the nation.
In 2007, Lincoln returned to KTUL as Executive Sports Director and main anchor. In 2012, he stepped down and now does special reports and covers feature events for the station plus freelance broadcasting.
Throughout his 25 years at Winnercomm, Lincoln became known to millions of television viewers around the world as “The Voice of the Thoroughbreds” as the host from 1982-1998 of thoroughbred and quarter horse races and the weekly “Racehorse Digest” show on ESPN.
In Tulsa he is remembered as the “Voice of the Tulsa Roughnecks” (NASL soccer team), the Oklahoma Outlaws (USFL Pro Football) and the Tulsa Twisters (professional team rodeo). He was featured on radio locally as a weekly announcer on the Sports Animal 97.1 FM show. He has also announced local high school football play-by-play for KRMG radio and events for Cox Cable.
He is also active in many Tulsa charities.
The Iba Awards were created in 1994 by the Rotary Club of Tulsa to recognize an influential male and a female premier athlete for their success in their sport, and more importantly, for being positive role models who give back to their communities – not only by donating to worthy causes but by being personally dedicated and involved in their chosen charities.
The awards are named after Henry P. Iba, former Oklahoma State University basketball coach and coach of three U.S. Olympic basketball teams. He was an unparalleled success as a coach, a leader and a citizen and these awards recognize and honor athletes who best exemplify a high degree of citizenship in his image.
Sponsor of the general reception is CommunityCare. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation, which supports local non-profits, statewide initiatives benefitting young people and the club’s International Projects Committee.
For table sponsorship information, contact the Rotary Club of Tulsa at 918-584-7642 or online at ibaawards.com.