President Trump Presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom


[Music] [Music] wonderful thank you and thank you all for being here in the Oval Office of this very joyous occasion today it is my privilege to present our nation’s highest civilian honor to a beloved basketball legend and a true American original Robert koozie commonly known as Bob Cousy Bob congratulations on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom the highest award you can receive we have the Presidential Medal of Freedom and we have the Congressional Medal of Honor for military and it’s great to be with you we’re grateful to be joined by Senator Joe Manchin and his wife Gail and Joe called me up quite a while ago and suggested this idea and Joe I’d like to maybe if you could just go to the mic say a few words about your relationship with Bob mr. president thank you I had a great pleasure of meeting this legend many years ago through my dear friend Andy and another family and we were Danny and I had been friends for a long time we were talking and he started talking about this Bob Cousy with a lot of coos I’m saying coos that’s are you talking about the Bob Cousy he said yeah he says I grew up where things are too young person and friends of the family we do each other forever and then he they introduced me to him in high manatee and we start talking and not bump in same thing but some of his friends said this is something that that basically he aspired for so you’d call me we were having a meeting on something else we were back having lunch and we were talking and you know in your personal fashion I said there’s a job I think you ought to consider for this high award and you said very well you said give us a number of more colleague you made the phone call back there he wasn’t gonna take the phone calls he thought someone said this is a white house call the president want to speak to you he said they’re jealous of me so they took the call honey says is unbelievable so to all the presence is a team effort it was this whole family and all these people grew up with bald and coos no it’s been a team effort to make this happen I we just happen happy that I could be a part of this and thank you mr. president we recognize a true American Hero thank you thank you so Thank You Gail very much a big I appreciate it also with us there are many members of the koozie family including Bob’s daughters marry Cindy and Murray where are you it’s a big deal and his grandchildren Zachary and Nicole thank you congratulations and his sons are all Randy Bruce and Jesse and their good sons of the I assume birthright had no complaints but they are bob grew up during the Great Depression on Manhattan’s East 83rd Street in an apartment without running water in 1941 at the age of 13 Bob picked up a basketball for the very first time he devoted himself to the sport and soon honed a unique ability to play equally well with both hands yet a very unique talent he had equal ability with both hands as they say I won’t ask you whether or not that’s true is it true it’s pretty pretty unique and Bob never forgot the lesson his first mentor taught him don’t ever be predictable I’ve heard that lesson too not for basketball for other things by a senior year of high school bob was named captain of the general Americans all scholastic team and people started calling him the Houdini of the hardwood started very early at school talent and neither habit where you don’t in 1946 Bob enrolled at College of the Holy Cross enjoyed the Crusaders where he quickly built a large following the plans in one of the biggest games of his sophomore year his coach for whatever reason benched him up but that’s the only time that ever happened the team was behind by seven points with only five minutes left to play it was a very very important game when the fans started going crazy we want koozie we want to seize a lot of fans to 8,000 that’s a lot at that time the coach had no choice but to put Bob in in a game and Bob immediately went on to score 12 quick points leading his team to a epic come-from-behind victory and I don’t know the coach kept his job I don’t know what do you think Joe I think I would have gotten her another card by the end of his collegiate career The Wizard of Wurster was a three-time all-american and was on his way to being drafted into the NBA everybody was talking about him they were talking about him all over the country joining the Boston Celtics in 1950 Bob quickly established himself as the preeminent point guard of his day he was ranked number one in assists for eight of his 13 NBA seasons all of which was spent with a team known as the Boston Celtics great team by a second season he was the third highest scorer in the league in a legendary 1953 playoff game between the Celtics and the Syracuse Nationals Bob demonstrated exceptional grit in one of the roughest games in the history of basketball including 107 fouls that’s a lot of fouls Bob force the game into its first of four overtimes and propelled the way to victory scoring a record 50 points and Boston won by quite a bit because he just went wild in that last overtime in 1954 Bob organized the NBA Players Association a first-of-its-kind Union for major American sports he was elected the association’s first president and fought for better working conditions and a more reasonable schedule for players Bob’s activism helped him produce many notable reforms including a pension plan for NBA players bob was also a passionate advocate for equality and justice at Holy Cross he wrote his senior thesis on the persecution faced by minorities while playing for the Celtics Bob heard that 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 and he wasn’t a happy person and he became very happy because what happened after that is very legendary bob was right at the forefront throughout his long career bob was a voice against prejudice racism and bigotry after 1,026 games for the celtics bob retired from the team in 1963 he had scored eighteen thousand nine hundred and seventy three points and made seven thousand eight hundred and eighty two assists they were records at the time he was a six-time NBA champion a thirteen time NBA all-star Wow and he was also league MVP it was the first NBA player to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Bob went on to coach the Boston College basketball team to a 117 and 38 record in 1973 he coached the u.s. national team to a victory against the Soviet Union he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971 and later became the first inductee to serve as its president he coached the Cincinnati Royals and briefly reactivated in 1969 setting the record for the oldest person to play in the NBA am I allowed to ask how all that was I’m having a senior moment I think it was 41 over the years Baba’s also poured his heart in countless charitable causes he was named the big brother of the year in 1965 taught youth basketball and created a scholarship for underprivileged children it’s an incredible life incredible life we’ve done great job but you’re one of the all-time greats in the history of sports not just basketball and an inspiration to us all and today America honors and celebrates everything that you have achieved you have it to you so much and even beyond basketball it is my privilege to ask the military aide to read the citation as we present Robert Bob Cousy with the Presidential Medal of Freedom [Applause] Robert Joseph Bob Cousy is one of basketballs all-time greatest players during his 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics the Houdini of the hardwood confounded opponents and was instrumental in building the team into a legendary success mr. Cooney won six NBA championships with the Celtics led the league in assists for eight straight years was a 13 time all-star and won the NBA’s most valuable player award in 1957 off the court he fought for racial equality by standing up to racism directed at his teammates and he helped organize the NBA Players Association in 1971 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame the United States proudly honors mr. cuvee whose competitiveness and character have solidified annum as a distinguished athlete and American [Applause] Thank You mr. president for those kind words I welcome if I no no it’s going to be eulogized I’d have probably done the only do something and die for you I think the good way I know in your world you know well on your way to making America right again in my world has been great for 91 years only in America could my story have been told I’m here to say that I’m easily fortunate lucky sob on a fabricated overseas followed by a 17-year ghetto experience in early life I discovered some god-given skills to play a child’s game and landed without much of a moral code other than the law of the streets survival and self-interest at the College of the Holy Cross 7 now when my Jesuit mental is an answer to the terminal questions what’s it all about why are we here what’s all of this I’ll get advised maximize your god-given skills of your choice and then reach out in your community and help in any way you can those who were less fortunate those who need a boost and to the best of my ability I’ve tried to do them and I’d like to think that the good Lord has rewarded my feeble attempts by surrounding me at this point my friends who have my back my two wonderful grandchildren let’s introduce you guys one more time Nick Nicole exactly two loving daughters both with devoted partners and both will hold all of them and make sure that I take my pills on time I can’t ask all those fans to stand and be identified what I would like to pay special tribute to my friend Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia who was directly responsible for my presence here today to receive this award and I’d like my daughters Marie and Tish I know you took one bow quick wave nice they are both retired schoolteachers both with distinguished careers energy and both wonderful replicas of their mother Missy wonderful years earlier left wings for my good fortune I refer to why we here this afternoon this acknowledgement allows me to complete my life circle I can stop chasing the bouncing ball Presidential Medal of Freedom allows me to reach a level of acceptance in our society I never once ever dreamed of and it’s very special to two other reasons it allows me to join one of the most exclusive clubs on our planet and secondly mr. president in my lifetime anyway thank you [Applause] I think I mentioned to you when we spoke in December that if I never get back to golf I’m gonna give you two aside okay and I just want to again congratulate Bob and his family and thank you all and Joe thank you for the reference that was the reference when joe manchin called senator Manchin he said but I do Bob who’s just had done you know one of they said no not to think about it what’s to think about I know his life I know how great an athlete he was I also know the great news beyond that so that was a very quick acceptance I didn’t have to call you back Joe I save the telephone so thank you very much for that reference and we’re very proud of our thank you [Applause] [Music] now the job numbers have been really good we have unemployment at a level that it hasn’t been that for many many years fantastic numbers the economy has been really fantastic if you look at the world economy not so good but the economy has been really fantastic thank you very much everybody [Music] you [Music]

2 thoughts on “President Trump Presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom

  • Great patriot; brave defender of freedom! America has been very strong because a lot of patriots have been defending this nation!

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