Trump awarding Medal of Freedom to NBA star Bob Cousy

President Donald Trump speaks to the 75th annual AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, Aug.21, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is to present basketball legend Bob Cousy with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in an Oval Office ceremony on Thursday.

Cousy, 91, played for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963, winning six league championships and the 1957 MVP title. The Bob Cousy Award, given to the country's best point guard in men's college basketball, is named for him. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

Cousy, who is white, is also known for speaking out against racism. He was an ardent supporter of black teammates who faced discrimination during the civil rights movement.

After hanging up his No. 14 jersey, the 13-time NBA All-Star went on to coach basketball at Boston College.

The Medal of Freedom celebrates individuals for their "especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the U.S., to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Cousy is the second Celtics player to be awarded the Medal of Freedom, following his former teammate Bill Russell, who received the honor in 2011 from President Barack Obama.

Cousy will be the second Medal of Freedom recipient this year. Trump presented the award to golfer Tiger Woods in May.

Cousy is the 10th honoree under Trump, who is Cousy's candidate of choice in the 2020 presidential election.

In a recent interview with NBA.com, Cousy described himself as politically moderate. He said that although he disagrees with some of the president's actions, he plans to vote for Trump next year.

Cousy supported Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in 2016.

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