EXCLUSIVE: President Trump presents Medal of Freedom to basketball legend [VIDEO]

AUGUST 22, 2019

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On Thursday afternoon, President Donald J. Trump presented the Medal of Freedom to Robert “Bob” Cousy—a celebrated basketball player considered one of the greatest in the history of the sport.

Cousy, the “Houdini of the Hardwood,” became “a leader for racial equality both within and beyond the NBA,” the White House said in a statement. “He was instrumental in the creation of the NBA Players Association, established in 1954 to protect the rights of athletes in the league.”

The White House newsletter 1600 Daily said of Cousy:

“Cousy became a symbol of greatness during his time as a point guard for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963. His playmaking abilities stood out from other guards, introducing a new blend of ball-handling and passing skills to the NBA—the legacy of which can be seen in today’s athletes. His Hall of Fame career speaks for itself: 6 NBA Championships, 13 All-Star appearances, and an unprecedented 8 straight years leading the league in assists. He won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in 1957.

“His contributions to the game continued long after he retired as a player. He went on to coach in the league for several years before becoming a broadcaster for Celtics games. Today, Cousy’s #14 jersey hangs in the rafters of the Boston Garden arena.”

Trump later tweeted a video of the ceremony, including the following message, “Congratulations to the GREAT Bob Cousy!”

“Thank you, Mr. President for those kind words. If I’d known I was going to be eulogized, I’d haveprobably done the only decent thing and died for you,” Cousy joked.

“Mr. President I know in your world, you’re well on your way to making America great again,” Cousy continued, addressing Trump. “In my world, it’s been great for 91 years. Only in America could my story have been told.”

Cousy said he had a “17-yer ghetto experience before discovering his basketball abilities. He said he was taught to “maximize your God-given skills,” and then reach out and help the less fortunate in your community.

“To the best of my ability, I’ve tried to do that,” Cousy added, “and I’d like to think that the good Lord has rewarded my feeble attempts by surrounding at this point in my life, at this wonderful event,” by friends and family.

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