Jerry West, a legendary player of Los Angeles Lakers, received this Thursday the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the United States from the hands of U.S. President, Donald Trump, and praised the daily tweets of the president.
“We read President Trump’s instant tweets on our phone. Quite good, by the way,” West said as he received the U.S. Medal of Freedom in the Oval Office.
West, 81, was an NBA All-Star 14 times during his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers and then coached the team for three seasons in the late 1970s before becoming one of the team’s most successful directors.
Trump had announced during West’s birthday in May that he would dedicate that prestigious tribute to him, which other basketball stars such as Michael Jordan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have received.
“I swear my name is going to look like a mistake on this list” (of honorees), West joked during the ceremony.
The former Lakers baseman recalled his humble origins in West Virginia, where he grew up as a “dreamer” even though his family “didn’t have much” money.
“But we had a clear view of the Appalachian Mountains. I watched them from our porch and wondered if I’d ever get to the top of that mountain, if I’d see the other side. Well, I did get to the other side. My dreams have come true,” West said.
Trump took the opportunity to recall that he won the state of West Virginia “by 43 points” in the 2016 presidential election, and described West as an NBA “legend,” who later “created an unstoppable machine” when he became a Lakers director and signed stars like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.