Two Chicago legends, Ernie Banks and Oprah Winfrey, were honored today by another, Barack Obama, when he awarded them the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the county’s highest civilian honor.

Banks, 82, is a bald and bespectacled Hall of Famer who still is called “Mr. Cub” more than 40 years after retirement.

Winfrey, 59, is the former talk-show diva who topped this year’s Forbes list as the country’s most powerful celebrity for work across TV, film, publishing and philanthropy.

Obama saluted Banks' rise from a 7-dollar-day player in the Negro Leagues to becoming the first African-American to suit up for the Cubs. He extolled his 512 home runs and exhortation, "Let's play two."

He said as a White Sox fan, he respected Banks' trust that someday the Cubs "would go all the way."

"That's serious belief," Obama said.

Obama said Winfrey had reached the pinnacle of the entertainment world and become the country's first black female billionaire after getting the same early advice he did: Change your name.

She was told to go as "Susie," he said.

Sixteen people received the award, including former President Bill Clinton, former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, country singer Loretta Lynn and feminist Gloria Steinem.

Another awardee nurtured a Chicago legend: Dean Smith, the former basketball coach from the University of North Carolina who helped prepare Bulls great Michael Jordan.

Awards were given posthumously to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Sally Ride, the first female astronaut to travel to space.