On Wednesday, October 26th supporters and friends of The American Ireland Fund gathered in New York at the Bryant Park Hotel for a screening of the CBS Sports Documentary With A Kiss.
rnThe documentary is about the career of first generation Irish-American and basketball broadcasting legend, Bill Raftery. The title of the film is an homage to one of his famous catch phrases and the entire film is a testimonial to his life, starting with his humble upbringing in Kearney, NJ under the watchful eye of his hardworking Irish parents.
rnThe film goes through his career as a standout young basketball player, to a scholarship player at LaSalle University to a brief NBA career with the New York Knicks and then into his coaching career and eventually how he landed his first broadcasting gig, 37 years ago and to The Final Four in 2015.rn
The film is also filled with tributes from luminaries in the basketball world including Tom Izzo, Mike Krzwzewski and his broadcasting peers including Jim Nance and Verne Lundquist.
Following the film, National Director of The Young Leaders, Pat Tully led a Q&A with Bill and the film’s Director and narrator, his son, Billy Raftery.
Pat focused on the interaction between father and son during the making of the film, how it came about and also Billy’s personal connection with one of our grantees, PeacePlayers. Billy was part of the first group to expand PeacePlayers beyond Northern Ireland to South Africa.
The impact of PeacePlayers International now spans across 16 countries and has positively affected over 75,000 children. Since 2003, The Ireland Funds has made grants of over $1.4 million to PeacePlayers International.
Pat then opened up the questions to the audience and the guests then joined Bill and Billy for a cocktail conversation in the Brant Park Hotel Terrace Loft where the meet and greet with our supporters continued.
Photo credit: James Higgins, Higgins Photography NYCrn