Basketball star, Michael Jordan, actor Robert De Niro and music legend, Bruce Springsteen, were among the 21 people honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by outing President Barack Obama.
During a ceremony at the White House, President Obama gave out the awards which is the nation’s highest civilian honour – for his last time to a diverse group of sports stars, scientists, artistes and philanthropists.
“Everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful personal way,” Obama said. “It’s useful when you think about this incredible collection of people to realise that this is what makes us the greatest nation on earth.
“Not because of what we are, not because of our differences, but because in our differences we find something common to share.”
According to AFP, the star-studded group included actors Tom Hanks and Robert Redford, basketball great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, cultural icon, Diana Ross and comedian and talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres.
While speaking on the accomplishments of DeGeneres, Obama lauded the comedian’s courage for coming out as a gay.