West, 81, earned the nickname "Mr. Clutch" as he played 14 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, went to the NBA finals nine times and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, while his silhouette has served as the league's logo.
"It never ceases to amaze me the places you can go in this world by chasing a bouncing ball," West said.
Trump said West receiving the highest civilian honor was "so richly deserved," as he listed his accomplishments.
"He made plays that will be remembered forever," Trump said.
West's wife, sons and grandchildren were present for the ceremony, as was Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from his hometown of West Virginia.