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Ernie Banks To Get Presidential Medal of Freedom: Report

AP

Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks gives an interview during the All Star Legends and Celebrity softball game Sunday, July 11, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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Famed Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks will be one of two sports stars presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award.

ESPN reports Ernie Banks, aka Mr. Cub, and former college basketball coach Dean Smith will get the award, considered the nation’s highest civilian honor.

President Barack Obama is expected to make the announcement Thursday. A time and date for the Hall of Famers to receive their medals also has yet to be announced.

Banks, ranked among baseball’s best and one of Chicago’s favorites, was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

Smith was the winningest coach in college basketball history when he retired, and ESPN points out he was an advocate for civil rights in the 1960s.

Past sports recipients include Joe DiMaggio, Billie Jean King,  Arnold Palmer, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali.

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