WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In a ceremony Thursday at the White House, President Donald Trump presented a legendary basketball player with one of the nation’s highest civilian honors.
Hall of Famer Bob Cousy is considered one of the best playmakers in the history of the NBA, leading the league in assists for eight consecutive years and earning All-Star honors 13 times. The “Houdini of the Hardwood” grew up in New York but became a star in Boston, where he was an integral part of the Celtics dynasty that won six titles between 1957-1963.
“One of the all-time greats in the history of sports,” Trump said.
The president praised Cousy for his contributions on and off the court, crediting him with standing up for racial equality for his teammates.
“Voice against prejudice, racism, and bigotry,” Trump said.
Cousy also organized the National Basketball Players Association in 1954.
“Presidential Medal of Freedom allows me to reach a level of acceptance in our society I never once ever dreamed of,” Cousy said.
The 91-year-old reflected on his late wife and their 63 years of marriage, adding that this accomplishment allows him to “complete his life circle.”
“That’s why you shouldn’t invite old men to the White House. We get emotional,” he added.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, helped to arrange the honor for Cousy.
“It’s been a team effort to make this happen,” he said. “I’m just happy I could be a part of this.”
Cousy is the 34th athlete to receive the Medal of Freedom. The last was Tiger Woods back in May.