Skip to navigationSkip to content

Obama’s toughest job yet: awarding Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a medal

  • Johnny Simon
By Johnny Simon

Deputy Photo Editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

US president Barack Obama hosted the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Nov. 22 at the White House, awarding the country’s highest civilian honor to luminaries of business, sports, entertainment, activism, and art. Recipients included Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks, Ellen Degeneres, Robert DeNiro, Frank Gehry, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, and Maya Lin.

But for Obama, a well-documented basketball fan, it could’ve been the attendance of Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who got him the most excited.

The president, standing respectably tall at 6’1”, was still no match for the NBA legend Abdul-Jabbar, who at 7’2” had to bend backwards, making for an awkward reverse bear hug as Obama awarded him his medal.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.