Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Diana Ross Among 21 To Receive Highest Civilian Honor From President Obama
In one of his last moves as President of the United States, Barack Obama recently announced 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by a president. Of that elite list includes philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, actors Tom Hanks and Roberto De Niro, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Bruce Springsteen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Criteria for the award is “meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other public or private endeavors,” President Obama said in a prepared statement.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our highest civilian honor. It’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have an opportunity to change this country for the better.
“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.”
Recipients are invited to the White House to receive their medals Nov. 22.
Of the esteemed those to receive awards, Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and racked up five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and another with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Iconic diva Diana Ross dazzled fans for more than 50 years in music, film, TV and fashion and is recipient of the Grammy Awards’ highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
One of the greatest to ever touch a basketball, Michael Jordan won six championships and five MVP awards.