Celtics legend Bob Cousy to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Bob Cousy will be the second Celtics player to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jim Davis /Globe Staff

Celtics legend Bob Cousy doesn’t lack for accolades or trophies. None match his latest, however.

Cousy, who turns 91 in August, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump, Cousy told the Globe on Monday. It is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“At 90, when someone rings your doorbell, you’re honored,’’ Cousy told the Globe. “Things change for you what is meaningful. I think it is a finish to a life circle to me. The reason it has special meaning to me is that it is outside the realm of sports.’’

Cousy will receive the award after a hall of fame basketball career. He won NBA MVP in 1957, was a 13-time NBA All-Star, a six-time NBA champion and had his No. 14 retired by the Celtics on Oct. 16, 1963.


He is the second Celtics player to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former President Barack Obama gave it to Bill Russell in 2011. Other sports figures who have received the award from President Trump include Babe Ruth and Tiger Woods.

President Donald Trump first called Cousy, a lifelong Worcester resident, on Dec. 3 while eating lunch with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who Cousy called a good friend. The conversation lasted almost 15 minutes.

Cousy received the official confirmation from the White House last Wednesday in the mail.

Cousy said the award also means a lot to him because it spans more than his accomplishments on the court.


“That,’’ Cousy said, “is what life is all about – maximize your God-given skills and after you’ve done that, try to reach out into the community.’’