Michael Jordan accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday at the White House, joining Vin Scully, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and other American icons in a ceremony with President Obama.
Jordan, the Chicago Bulls legend and Charlotte Hornets owner, was among 21 recipients of the medal, regarded as the highest civilian honor that American can bestow upon its citizens. The award is presented to individuals “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.”
During the ceremony, Obama joked that Jordan is "more than just an Internet meme." Referring to Jordan, Obama also noted the class of medal recipients included a "renown character actor like the guy from Space Jam."
Jordan, 53, is regarded as one of the greatest athletes and by many as the greatest basketball player ever, winning six titles with the Chicago Bulls and five MVP awards, among many other accolades.
Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul–Jabbar also received Medals of Freedom on Tuesday.
Other honorees included Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres and Bruce Springsteen.