Cousy, 91, is best known for his career playing with the NBA's Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963, during which he won six championships and was named an All Star 13 times. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.
"You're one of the all-time greats in the history of sports, not just basketball and an inspiration to us all and today America honors and celebrates everything that you have achieved. You have achieved so much and even beyond basketball," Trump said during the ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House.
Throughout his playing career, Cousy also advocated for black players in the league and helped to form the NBA Players Association union.
"Bob was right at the forefront of combating racism within the league," Trump said. "Throughout his long career, Bob was a voice against prejudice, racism and bigotry."
Cousy said receiving the award on Thursday allowed him to "complete my life circle."
"I can stop chasing the bouncing ball," he said. "The Presidential Medal of Freedom allows me to reach a level of acceptance in our society I've never once ever dreamed of."