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WHEN THE STARS COME OUT IN THE CITY: SI'S GRAND GALA TONIGHT
Published December 2, 1999
CBS will broadcast "Sports Illustrated's 20th Century Sports Awards" tonight with a two-hour special live from MSG starting at 9:00pm ET. Tonight's event, hosted by Bryant Gumbel, will honor SI's top athlete of the century in hockey, baseball, basketball, football, Olympians, and individualized men and women. SI will also name its Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Century, along with its "Athletes Who Changed The Game." Among the guests scheduled to attend: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Arnold Palmer, Chris Evert, Jack Nicklaus, Joe Montana and others. Celebrity presenters include Al Pacino, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Billy Crystal, who will present awards (SI). In N.Y., Mitchell Fink writes that the "collective star power" attending tonight's event "is on a level that's beyond anything even the Garden has ever seen" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/2). In Chicago, Ed Sherman wrote that, on the "surface," Gumbel seems like an "unlikely" choice to host the event, as he was "the subject of one of the best, yet most unflattering profiles ever" in SI in '98. But Gumbel got his assignment "because of his new role as host of CBS' 'The Early Show.'" Sherman: "A little synergy can go a long way in making people forget" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/29).