Dancing With the Stars host Carrie Ann Inaba, world class billiard player Jeanette Lee, NBC news anchor Betty Nguyen and Mixed Martial Arts champion Benson Henderson have been named as the 2015 inductees into the Asian Hall of Fame.
Nguyen (pictured) came to the United States from Saigon in 1975 when she wasn’t yet even one-year old. Before joining NBC, she also worked as a news anchor for CNN and CBS as well as local affiliates in Dallas and Waco, Texas.
“My heritage serves as a reminder of who I am, where I came from, and what it took to get here,” said Nguyen. “I am a Vietnamese American, who was born of war, sent to refugee camps, and given a golden ticket to this place called America. I am a keeper of the past and a bridge to the future.”
Lee is a Korean American who grew up in Brooklyn. She is known in the billiard world as the Black Widow. Since the age of 13, she has undergone nine surgeries to strengthen her back weakened by scoliosis
She has been ranked number 1 in her sport and continues to dominate today. Her victories include the 2001 World Games , 2003 Tournament of Champions , 2004 WPBA Florida Classic Hard Rock Casino Tournament, 2004 International Trick Shot, 2007 Skins Billiard , 2008 and 2009 Empress Cup and the WPBA National title in 1994.
“I believe the Asian Hall of Fame is important because it allows our community to reflect on how far Asians have come in society,” said Lee. “Throughout my career I felt it very important not to lose sight of my cultural identity. The Asian Hall of Fame serves as a reminder for all Asian nationalities that we have such great history and even brighter futures.”
Henderson was raised in Federal Way, Washington and born in Colorado. His titles include the WEC Lightweight Championship in 2010. His mother is Korean American. She encouraged him to take Tak-Kwon Do as a way to connect to his heritage.
“It means the world to me to be honored for such a prestigious award,” said Henderson. “I am humbled by the fact that so many Koreans and Korean Americans take pride in me. It makes me want to do better and be better, to continually excel.”
Inaba joined ABC’s hit dance competition in 2005. She originally appeared as a Fly
Girl in 1990 in Fox’s In Living Color and has choreographed for such shows as American Idol, American Juniors, and Dance Fever.
She has also appeared in Austin Powers: Goldmember, Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” and Monster Mash.