US President Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal Freedom to Boston Celtics legend Robert (Bob) Cousy in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC on Thursday.
"Today it is my privilege to present our nation's highest civilian honour to a beloved basketball legend and a true American original Robert Cousy," Trump said as he began his remarks at the event.
The US president continued by discussing not only Cousy's remarkable basketball career, but also highlighting his his "passionate" advocacy for equality and justice.
"At Holy Cross, he wrote his senior thesis on the persecution faced by minorities. When playing for the Celtics, Bob heard his friend Chuck Cooper, the first African-American drafted into the NBA, could not stay in the same hotel as the rest of the team in the segregated South. Bob responded by leaving the state with his teammate," Trump said, adding "throughout his long career Bob was a voice against prejudice, racism, and bigotry."
After receiving the award, the 91-year-old Cousy also said a few words, saying "Mr. President I know in your world you're well on your way to making America great again. In my world, it's been great for 91 years. Only in America could my story've been told. I am here to say that I am easily the most lucky SOB on the planet."
Cousy is a six-time NBA champion and Naismith Hall of Famer who was a prominent point guard for the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and 60s and was voted the league's MVP in 1957. Cousy also began the organisation of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) labour union that represents NBA basketball players in 1954.