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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce honored four athletes with South Florida ties as inductees to the Greater Miami Sports Hall of Champions at a ceremony Wednesday night.
The event, held at Marlins Park, honored golf legend Jack Nicklaus, tennis star Chris Evert, former Major League Baseball player Woody Woodward and Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade.
“It’s like one of those out-of-body experiences. Like I shouldn’t be here,” Wade said. “When you get honored and you’re still active and still playing, you don’t know how special it really is. When you’re in the caliber of Jack Nicklaus, it’s an honor. It really is.”
Nicklaus, Woodward and Wade all attended the event with their families.
Evert’s son accepted her award on her behalf as she was unable to make it.
Her co-honorees say it’s special to be recognized by a community they consider home.
“This is my hometown and to come back after all these years this is something very special to me,” Woodward said.
“We’ve been part of the community for a long time and it’s very nice to be honored. It’s nice to be here,” Nicklaus told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Created in 1990, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Sports Hall of Champions includes about 100 sports figures.
Past inductees include Alonzo Mourning, Jeff Conine, Dan Marino and Joe DiMaggio.
To be eligible, you must be a professional athlete, team executive, administrator or coach with South Florida ties who has given back to this community in a major way.
Fair to say these inductees fit the bill through their various charitable organizations.
“I’m not used to winning awards on my own. So this is pretty cool. Pretty cool,” Wade said before taking a moment to “Snapchat” a video of the festivities from the stage.
Evert was the No. 1 ranked tennis player in the world and winner of 18 Grand Slam singles championships.
Nicklaus, known as “The Golden Bear”, won 18 career major championships including six Masters Tournaments.
Wade brought three NBA Championships to the city of Miami and is an 11-time NBA All-Star.
Woodward was honored as the Lifetime Contribution to Sports Inductee. Born in Miami, he attended Coral Gables High School and Florida State University. After his playing days, he was the general manager for the Yankees, Phillies and Mariners ball clubs.
Currently, there is no physical location for the Greater Miami Sports Hall of Champions.
But Hall chairman Bob Fitzsimmons says the chamber is working on creating a place where memorabilia from inductees can be displayed. He hinted he’d like to see one built in conjunction with the Major League Soccer stadium, whenever that happens.