- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2019

President Trump awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor Thursday to NBA great Bob Cousy for his achievements on the court and solidarity with black teammates affected by racial segregation.

Mr. Cousy was known to take an overnight train or bus with black teammates who were forced into other accommodations.

Bob was a voice against prejudice, racism and bigotry,” Mr. Trump said, before giving Mr. Cousy the Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Mr. Cousy — the “Houdini of the Hardwood” — won six NBA titles during his 13 seasons as a point guard with the Boston Celtics and was named league MVP in 1957.

The hall-of-famer also played a key role in creating the NBA Players Association.

Mr. Cousy, 91, of Worcester, Massachusetts, made light of the plaudits showered upon him in the Oval Office.

“If I’d known I was going to be eulogized I would probably have done the only decent thing and died,” he said.

He became emotional while speaking about his two daughters, saying they resemble their mother, “who put up with me for 63 years.”

“That’s why you shouldn’t invite old men to the White House. They get emotional.” Mr. Cousy said.

Mr. Cousy’s friends and family, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Sen. Joe Manchin III, who put Mr. Cousy on Mr. Trump’s radar, attended the ceremony.

Mr. Cousy called Mr. Trump the “most extraordinary” president of his lifetime, though he told NBA.com he voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in 2016.

Mr. Trump will have his vote next year.

“Given this situation, this president will definitely have my vote in 2020,” he told the website. “I simply feel, without getting into the politics of it at all, like many Americans — I agree with some of the things he’s done and disagree with others.”

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