President Donald Trump announced Saturday that NBA legend Jerry West will be the next to receive the nation’s highest civilian award.
The president wrote on Twitter, in part: “The Great Jerry West will be receiving our Nation’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his outstanding career, both on and off the court.”
The Great Jerry West will be receiving our Nation’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his outstanding career, both on and off the court. Happy Birthday Jerry! @Sen_JoeManchin https://t.co/3kNEpteYfW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2019
The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, is given to people who have “made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.
West, 81, was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1980 after playing all 14 of his NBA seasons with the Lakers.
He was named an All-Star in each season he played and he led Los Angeles to nine NBA finals. West has since served as a basketball executive. He left the Warriors as an executive board member to take a job with the Clippers in 2017, where he currently works as a special consultant.
Trump awarded golfer Tiger Woods with the medal last month after he won the Masters. Other notable athletes who have earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom include Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Roger Staubach, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, among others.