To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

In early November, when the sports world turned an eye toward Philadelphia to say goodbye to iconic heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, it seemed a fitting tribute to the man who defeated Muhammad Ali in the most publicized boxing match of all time. But, true to their passion for their sports heroes, Philadelphians have demanded more in the way of a salute to the man they called Smokin’ Joe.

On Monday, Jan. 30, a special tribute to Frazier will be the centerpiece of the 108th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. A collage of famous Frazier photos will grace the cover of the special commemorative program book. A large feature story recounts his career, focusing on his life in Montgomery County and son Marvis and daughter Jackie — both graduates of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School — will be on hand to accept the tribute.

In addition to the tribute to Frazier, there will be a special remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the night that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks in a game in Hershey. Legendary announcer Bill Campbell will recount details of that night, and Campbell’s original radio call of the 100th point will be played.

In addition to the two special tributes, the traditional awards will be presented and the recipients will be on hand to accept: Philadelphia Pro Athlete, Flyers’ Claude Giroux; Amateur Athlete of the Year, two-time Villanova NCAA women’s cross country champion Sheila Reid; Good Guy, Phillies’ Hunter Pence; Team of the Year, Phillies, accepted by GM Ruben Amaro; Humanitarian, Villanova football coach Andy Talley and Living Legend, Philadelphia University basketball coach Herb Magee.

Special Achievement awards will be given to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (career Phillies managerial wins record), college football coaching legend Bill Manlove and Villanova women’s basketball coach Harry Perretta.

A Special Achievement award also will be given to all involved in the creation of the movie “Mighty Macs”, about the storied women’s national basketball championships won by tiny Immaculata University in the 1970s. The movie, written by Cardinal O’Hara and University of Pennsylvania grad Tim Chambers, chronicled the uphill struggle of young coach Cathy Rush and her unheralded team. Both Chambers and Rush will be in attendance. The wholesome, family movie inspired the country upon its release last year. Flyers’ ambassador and Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent, Winter Classic Alumni Game Most valuable Player will receive his award at the dinner.

Another Montgomery County (pa.) product, Steve Javie, will be honored for his years of excellence as an NBA official. The recently retired Javie was a graduate of LaSalle High and Temple University, where he played baseball.

Tickets for the event, priced at $95 are available online at www.pswa.org or by sending a check payable to PSWA to Robbie Kenney, Ticket Chairman, 110 Harrogate Dr., Lumberton, NJ 08048. For more info, visit PSWA.org.

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