Athletes deserve medal of freedom

The highest honor a citizen of the United States  can receive is the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is only given to those who have made a special contribution to the security or national interests of the nation, world peace or cultural or other private or public endeavors.

Not only is this a huge deal to many people, but several prominent athletes have already received the award, including most recently Jerry West, former NBA superstar and current executive.

Though many former players of sports are only now receiving this award, we need to begin honoring those who are currently changing the game and developing the “national interests” of their game. When thinking about current U.S. game changers, few come to mind.

A prominent public figure as well as the face of the NBA, LeBron James is one who deserves such an honor. Not only has his game shifted the NBA’s playing style, but he has also brings a larger audience to the sport.  Without James in the NBA playoffs, viewership decreases by 18 percent,  according to Austin Karp, the managing editor at the Sports Business Journal.

He is also an active supporter of nonprofit organizations and contributes to various causes through his  charity foundation. For instance, he has opened a school for underprivileged children in his hometown.  

Considering his status as  a role model for many young players as well as his influence on brands outside the league, James is definitely one who deserves to have a Medal of Freedom shining on his chest.

Another prominent sports figure is Serena Williams, one of the most accomplished tennis players. Formerly ranked the No. 1 singles player in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association, Williams continues to prove time and time again that America’s tennis is a force to be reckoned with.

Not only has her success as a tennis player received fame, but her off-court activities have also played a huge role in her fame. Her support for Black Lives Matter as well as her support for the LGBTQ community show young Americans how to be respectful and powerful at the same time. As the epitome of American tennis, Williams deserves this  highest honor for a citizen.

Both these athletes have already proved their masterful skills on the court, and their attitudes off the court are the perfect examples of what an American should be. The Medal of Freedom shouldn’t only be limited to those who have retired; the award should also be given to those who are the current idols in the sports scene and big influences of Young America.