Baseball legend Ernie Banks and the Queen of Daytime Television’s Oprah Winfrey were bestowed with one of the highest honors yesterday when they received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Banks was saluted by President Obama for being the first African American to play for the Chicago Cubs (which is a lot coming from Obama, as he is a loyal Chicago White Sox fan).
Winfrey, 59, who topped this year’s Forbes list as the country’s most powerful celebrity, was praised for her work across TV, film, publishing and philanthropy. Obama said Winfrey rose from poverty and abuse to the pinnacle of the entertainment universe and became the first black female billionaire after getting the same early advice he did: Change your name.
She was told to go by the name “Susie,” according to Obama. The president, who went by the nickname “Barry” in his youth, did not disclose which name he was urged to adopt — but he did say it was not “Susie.”
The Hall of Famer, aka “Mr. Cub,” scored an impressive 512 home runs throughout his career. Oprah called the honor her “greatest achievement yet.”
Sixteen people received the presidential award,including Civil Rights Leader Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, and former basketball coach Dean Smith who helped prepare the legendary Michael Jordan during his time at the University of North Carolina.
Congratulations to both Ernie Banks and Oprah Winfrey on this well-deserved achievement!