Michelle Wie returns to White House as Jerry West receives Medal

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Michelle Wie returns to White House as Jerry West receives Medal

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Michelle Wie returns to White House as Jerry West receives Medal

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Michelle Wie returned to the White House on Thursday, this time to see her father-in-law, Jerry West, receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump.

West was lauded as “one of the greatest basketball players and sports executives of all time,” by Trump in the ceremony that took place in the Oval Office. West and his wife, Karen, were accompanied by their family. Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and governor Jim Justice were also in attendance.

After being highly recruited in high school, West decided to stay in his home state and went on to break several records at West Virginia. He was named the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Player in 1959. He’d go on to play on the 1960 Olympic team that won gold.

During a Hall of Fame career with the Lakers, West averaged more than 30 points a season four times. He and Elgin Baylor led the team to the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, losing to the Celtics each time. Over 14 seasons with the Lakers, West broke the record for most points scored in team history and was named NBA Finals MVP in 1969.

As a coach and later general manager and executive vice president for the Lakers, West was credited with signing Shaquille O’Neal and trading for Kobe Bryant. Those two players would lead the Lakers to three straight titles.

He recently became a consultant to the Clippers, with whom West helped sign Kawhi Leonard. “He’s some player. We were talking about that. And the combination of the two of them is going to be a very interesting season,” Trump said of Leonard and Paul George.

West said when he first read on the internet that he’d be receiving the medal, he thought it was a joke.

“I looked at the list of other honorees and was inspired by the names of some on that page: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, philanthropic champions; Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, César Chávez, Simon Wiesenthal, and Desmond Tutu, legendary leaders; Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, athlete activists; Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Stevie Wonder, excellence personified; John Wooden, Frank Robinson, Arnold Palmer, and Vince Scully, friends I try to emulate. I swear my name is going to look like a misprint on this list,” West said.

Wie also got a shout-out from the president. “Jonnie, congratulations on your marriage to a great golfer, Michelle Wie, who is here today. And thank you, Michelle, for being here,” Trump said.

Wie was invited in June 2016 and back in 2010 to visit the White House with her Solheim Cup team.

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