Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe and Long Island native Steve Serio, co-captain of the Paralympic Gold Medal USA men’s wheelchair basketball team, will headline The Viscardi Center’s 55th annual Celebrity Sports Night on May 19.
The Albertson-based center, which educates, employs, and empowers people young and old with disabilities, typically holds the annual event as an evening of dinner and cocktails in which the organization showcases their students’ talents and honors celebrities for their accomplishments.
Past honorees include Gleyber Torres of the Yankees, Clark Gillies of the Islanders, Joe Namath of the Jets, as well Mike Piazza and Jose Reyes of the Mets.
This year, McEnroe will be named Sportsman of the Year and Serio will receive the Roy Campanella Award, named after the Hall of Fame Brooklyn Dodger catcher who fractured his vertebrae and compressed his spinal cord in an automobile accident on his way to his Glen Cove home.
Ed Bastian, chief executive of Delta Airlines, will be the night’s Corporate Leadership Honoree.
McEnroe, who grew up in Douglaston, had a 28-year career beginning in 1978.
The lefty won seven grand slams in singles competition, five in men’s doubles and one in mixed doubles competition. The American currently works as an analyst for ESPN, a role he has held since 2009.
Serio in 2016 led the American men to their first Paralympic gold medal in wheelchair basketball since 1988 before defending it at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
When the Westbury native was 11 months old, he had surgery to remove a spinal tumor, compressing his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed.
New features at this year’s event include an afterparty involving the Johnny Smyth Band and McEnroe as well as a wheelchair basketball game with Viscardi student players, that will be livestreamed.
The center’s K-12 school serves medically fragile and severely disabled children with a graduation and college acceptance rate of 86 percent. The center, located in Albertson, provides after-school athletic programs, transportation, and modern technologies and curriculums designed to give students an accessible but rigorous academic experience.
The other side of the center offers programs to disabled adolescents and adults and school districts looking for transitioning planning services, prevocational work, testing and job placement. The center places roughly 120 people a year in competitive, integrated employment and provides support and advocacy beyond a participant’s tenure at the center.
The educational and employment services the Viscardi Center offers serve 2,000 people a year from all five boroughs of the city, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties.