NBA legend Jerry West received the nation’s highest civilian honor on Thursday.
President Donald Trump presented West with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday afternoon, an honor Trump said West “richly deserved.”
President Trump: "It's my privilege to award our nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to a remarkable man --Jerry West." pic.twitter.com/vc37UnHt55— The Hill (@thehill) September 5, 2019
“He made plays that will be remembered forever,” Trump said during the ceremony, via The HIll.
West spent 14 seasons in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1960-1974, and was named an All-Star each season while in the NBA. West — who was the 1968-69 NBA Finals MVP and led the team to the Finals nine times — generated the nickname “Mr. Clutch” and even inspired the league’s current logo, both things Trump acknowledged during the ceremony.
The Hall of Famer spent three years coaching the Lakers after his retirement, too, and served as an executive in their organization for nearly two decades. He currently serves as a consultant for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jerry West:"First of all, thank you Mr. President. Well, where should I begin? You know it never ceases to amaze me the places you can go in this world chasing a basketball." pic.twitter.com/uhfLLEzME1— The Hill (@thehill) September 5, 2019
“It never ceases to amaze me the places you can go in this world chasing a bouncing ball,” West said. “My chase began in Cheylan, West Virginia, where I strung a wire basket with no net to the side of a bridge. If a shot didn’t go in, the ball rolled down a long bank. You’d be chasing it forever. So you better make it.”
West is the 11th person to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump during his time in office, and is the sixth athlete — joining Bob Cousy, Tiger Woods, Roger Staubach, Babe Ruth and Alan Page. Other notable recipients under Trump include Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Senator Orrin Hatch and Elvis Presley.
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