Rich Arden / ESPN Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama named the 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on Wednesday. The awards will be presented at the White House on Nov. 22.
In a press release, the White House explained the Presidental Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” President Obama said. “From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”
Sports figures Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Vin Scully are three of the 21 recipients.
Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a six-time NBA champion (five with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Milwaukee Bucks), a six-time MVP and a 19-time All Star. He is also an outspoken advocate for social justice.
Jordan, another NBA great, played 15 years with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, winning six championships, five MVPs and appearing in 14 All-Star games. He is now the principle owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.
Scully recently ended his 67-year career as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ broadcaster. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988, and was on the call for perfect games by Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen, Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series and Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run.
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