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Vin Scully and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Receive Presidential Medals of Freedom

Retired Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully and former Los Angeles Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are among 21 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House.

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor — it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” said President Barack Obama, who will present the awards. Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama will be there as well.

“From scientists, philanthropists and public servants to activists, athletes and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”

According to the White House, the medals recognize people 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.”

In addition to Scully — who will receive the honor seven days before his 89th birthday — and Abdul-Jabbar, the list of recipients includes comedian/talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, architect Frank Gehry, singers Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen and actors Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Cicely Tyson and Robert Redford.

“Saturday Night Live” creator/producer Lorne Michaels also made the list, along with former NBA standout Michael Jordan.

Scully was informed of his selection in a telephone call from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

“Oh my gosh, no. Are you sure?” Scully said. “I’m just an old baseball announcer.”

Earnest told Scully “you’ve had a remarkable impact on the lives of generations of sports fans in this country and you have brought a decency and a professionalism to this job that hasn’t just captured the attention of generations of Americans, it’s captured the attention of the president of the United States.”

Scully replied, “I’m rather overwhelmed and humbled.”

 

Obama

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