Curtis charting a course past a Panther in '05
Curtis Martin will be honored Thursday evening by One Hundred Black Men at the Hilton in New York City. Martin, the NFL's fourth all-time leading rusher with 14,101 yards, will receive the Sportsmanship Award at the Annual Benefit Gala.
One Hundred Black Men is a national, no-profit 501c(3) philanthropic organization dedicated to the development of today's underprivileged youth. The theme of Thursday's event is "Recognizing Our Past, Redefining Our Future."
The 33-year old Martin is expected to announce his retirement in the next few months. One of the greatest players ever to don a Jets' jersey, Martin is the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 10,302 yards on a club-record 2,560 carries for a 4.0 average. The four-time Pro Bowler owns 43 100-yard rush games with the Jets and 56 career 100-yard performances as a pro. Last season, Martin never took the field due to a lingering right knee injury.
"I think his heart was saying one thing, and unfortunately the injury was saying something else. He's got a pretty big heart, so I'm sure that battle was strong," said Jets head coach Eric Mangini of Martin in November after the club placed the future Hall of Famer on the Reserve Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
When the Jets' season concluded in January, Martin talked to reporters about the possibility of never playing again.
"I've come to grips with the fact that my career is probably over. As I said, I'm grateful that I put in my all and I put my heart out on the field," he said. "I've done everything I can to help my team win games and at the end of the day, that's something I can leave the game with - no regrets."
The mission of One Hundred Black Men, Inc. is to enable our society through self reliance, education, access to quality health care, and economic empowerment; to improve the quality of living for the people who live and work in the communities they serve.
As an agent for change, One Hundred Black Men strive to lift our communities up from within, providing opportunities for educational and economic empowerment, and improving prospects for healthy living, strong families and communities. Through engaged partnerships, educational activism and philanthropy, they engage their constituents to address inequalities, and seek social and economic justice
"We pay tribute to our past accomplishments, salute the progress we've made, and look forward to our future endeavors," says Phil Banks Jr., newly elected President of One Hundred Black Men's New York chapter. "We recognize that One Hundred Black Men's initiatives are achieved through the tireless application of our dedicated members, sponsors, supporters, communities we serve, and most importantly through those selfless visionaries who have come before us. Our primary mission is to help make the communities we serve better than they were yesterday, and to give people a vision for tomorrow."
Other Honorees for Thursday's event will include: Grammy Award winning, platinum selling recording artists Kanye West and Kirk Franklin to receive the Advocate for Social Change and Artistic Achievement Awards, respectively;political activist Charles B. Rangel to receive the Distinguished Service Award, Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker to receive the Trailblazer Award, executive powerhouse Ian Moore to receive the Corporate Appreciation Award, and educational & spiritual leader Calvin O. Butts to receive the Religious Leader Award. The event will be hosted by Lori Stokes and Maurice Dubois. Renowned R&B vocalist Howard Hewett will perform.