On Tuesday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to 21 new recipients, including Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For some recipients, being medaled by the president elicited tears. For others, it was surprisingly awkward. As it turns out, Obama couldn't reach Abdul-Jabbar with the Medal of Freedom, and the former NBA pro's reaction was as priceless as the medallion being draped around his neck.
At 7 feet 2 inches tall, Abdul-Jabbar is more than a foot taller than the 6-foot-1-inch president. That height undoubtedly served him well in the NBA, but it made for a comedic moment at the White House on Tuesday. As Obama reached to drape the Medal of Freedom around Abdul-Jabbar's neck, the basketball pro realized he was too tall for POTUS, made a hilariously alarmed face, and leaned back to make his neck more accessible. Meanwhile, the president stretched up to just barely reach Abdul-Jabbar's neck.
Tuesday's ceremony probably wasn't the first time that Abdul-Jabbar has found himself taller than most of the room, but it was a rare sight for the president. At more than 6 feet tall, POTUS isn't short, and he's often taller than the diplomats and heads of state with whom he meets. Still, Obama's struggle to reach Abdul-Jabbar has become one of the many relatable moments of his presidency.
Who could forget about the time Obama nearly ROFL'ed over a baby dressed as the pope for Halloween? There's also his love of guac — like you, he probably doesn't care that it costs extra. Oh, and don't forget about the time that Obama read mean tweets about himself so Jimmy Kimmel could remind us all that "presidents are people, too."
But Obama isn't the only relatable member of the first family. The first lady apparently does a stunning impression of her husband — and she told Stephen Colbert that the president "doesn't have a life." Not to mention, she likes to sing "Single Ladies" in the car just like you. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Sasha Obama had a summer job at a restaurant on Martha's Vineyard, and 18-year-old Malia Obama went to Lollapalooza in her old stomping grounds of Chicago.
There's no doubt that the Obamas have been one of the most relatable families to enter the White House, taking American pop culture by storm in the process. Whether it's a kid-friendly Halloween celebration or a Medal of Freedom ceremony, the president's relatable moments will be missed when his second term comes to an end in January. Until then, fingers crossed for more Obama GIFs.