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Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar receive Medal of Freedom

CCTV.com

11-23-2016 10:47 BJT

Two of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan and Karrem Abdul-Jabbar, received the highest civilian honor bestowed by the country. The two hoops legends were among 21 recipients of the American Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday at the White House.

Saying they had touched him in a powerful and personal way, President Barack Obama awarded the distinguished medals to a group of groundbreaking actors, musicians, and athletes including basketball Hall of Famers Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The bio put out by the White House for Jordan called him "one of the greatest athletes of all time". And Abdul-Jabbar was recognized as "an outspoken advocate for social justice," in addition to his legendary NBA career.

Obama said the people receiving the medal helped push America forward and inspired millions around the world.  The award recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to its culture, or to other significant endeavors.

"They know what you're talking about because Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of greatness, he is the definition of somebody so good at what they do that everybody recognizes it. That's pretty rare," Obama said.

"The reason we honor Kareem is more than just a pair of goggles and the skyhook. He stood up for his Muslim faith when it wasn't easy, it wasn't popular. He's as comfortable sparring with Bruce Lee as he is advocating on Capitol Hill or writing with extraordinary eloquence about patriotism. Physically, intellectually, spiritually Kareem is one of a kind, an American who illuminates both our most basic freedoms and our highest aspirations."

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