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Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Michael Jordan

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan smiles as he watches his team in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have won 11 MVPs, 12 NBA titles and eight Finals MVPs.

Now, they’re adding America’s highest civilian honor.

Jordan and Abdul-Jabbar have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. The honor is bestowed on those “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

White House:

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards; he is currently a principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. During his career, he won six championships, five Most Valuable Player awards, and appeared in 14 All-Star games.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and the Milwaukee Bucks to another. During his career, Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 19-time NBA All-Star. Before joining the NBA, he was a star player at UCLA, leading the Bruins to three consecutive championships. In addition to his legendary basketball career, Abdul-Jabbar has been an outspoken advocate for social justice.

That these two receive this prestigious honor the same year is interesting given how different Abdul-Jabbar feels their contributions to society have been.