On Wednesday, the 2016 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, were announced. There will be 21 recipients this year, ranging from sports to entertainment to industry. The recipients will be presented with their medals at the White House on November 22.

This year's prominent recipients

Athletes make up a good portion of this year's recipients. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest Basketball players of all-time and the NBA's all-time leading scorer, won six MVP awards and played for championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

Michael Jordan is also known as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time with the Chicago Bulls, and now runs the Charlotte Hornets franchise. Vin Scully just retired in 2016 after calling Los Angeles Dodgers games as a broadcaster for nearly half a century, leaving listeners with lifetimes worth of indelible moments.

Entertainers are also getting high billing in 2016. Ellen DeGeneres, a highly-visible lesbian in the entertainment industry, hosts "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" daily. Robert De Niro is a famous actor who has won two Oscars in his illustrious career.

Tom Hanks is also a famous actor, best known for his roles in movies such as "Apollo 13" and "Forrest Gump." Lorne Michaels is the creator of one of the most long-running shows in television, "Saturday Night Live." Robert Redford is a recently retired actor and director, while Cicely Tyson has won both Emmy and Tony Awards. Finally, Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross are two of the most famous American performers.

Lives dedicated to justice

Many of the other recipients have dedicated their lives to the improvement of bettering others and society. Elouise Cobell was a Native American community leader. Richard Garmin is a polymath physicist and professor. Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft and is receiving the honor with Melinda Gates, since together they have countless charitable contributions. Frank Gehry is responsibly for the Walt Disney Music Hall architecture, while Margaret Hamilton has made contributions to NASA, similar to Grace Hopper's contributions to software development.

Other recipients for the Presidential Medal of Freedom are Maya Lin, Newt Minow, and Eduardo Padron.

The presentation of these medals will be one of President Obama's last acts as president before ceding the position to Donald Trump in January.

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