Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by President Barack Obama.
President Obama talked about Kareem’s career, referring to him as an “unstoppable force,” but noted that “The reason we honor Kareem is more than just a pair of goggles and the skyhook. He stood up for his Muslim faith when it wasn’t easy and wasn’t popular. He’s as comfortable sparring with Bruce Lee as he is advocating on Capitol Hill or writing with extraordinary eloquence on patriotism.”
And playing Jeopardy!, the President might have added. Kareem appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy! 4 times.
- The first time was on November 8, 1994 when he beat talk show host, Larry King, and Bay Watch actress, Alexandra Paul.
- The second time was on November 6, 1998, in Legends in Sports Jeopardy! He beat Martina Navratilova and Reggie Jackson in that one.
- Kareem went up against Soledad O’Brien and Michael McKean on October 15, 2009 in the Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. McKean won that one with a runaway.
- The most recent time was on May 15, 2012. We recapped that match and even have an image showing how no platforms were going to fix the disparity in height.
Speaking of heights, President Obama is pretty tall but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar still has a good foot on him. You can see in the video of the ceremony how Kareem leaned backwards some to assist the President in putting the Presidential Medal on.
Other Medal of Freedom recipients from the world of sports were Michael Jordan and Vin Scully. You can watch more clips from the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony or the entire ceremony on Youtube.