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Meadowlark Lemon, Harlem Globetrotter, Dies at 83

meadowlark-lemonMeadowlark Lemon also known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball” died Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz at the age of 83.

The famous Harlem Globetrotter was a legendary prankster and athlete that wowed audiences with his raw talent. Meadow Lemon III (commonly known by his stage name Meadowlark Lemon) played nearly 16,000 games in nearly 22 years.  A graduate of Florida A&M University, he was a Navy man for two years after graduating. Throughout his career, he traveled the world, performing for all kinds of people.

Lemon joined the Globetrotters in 1955 at the young age of 22, and played on the team until 1983. Between 1983 and 1994, he joined and created a variety of different teams before heading back to play for the Globetrotters. He played 50 games at an advanced age.

“I don’t worry that I never played against some of those guys,” Lemon said in a 2010 Sport Illustrated interview when asked about never having played in the N.B.A. “I’ll put it this way… When you go to the Ice Capades, you see all these beautiful skaters, and then you see the clown come out on the ice, stumbling and pretending like he can hardly stay up on his skates, just to make you laugh. A lot of times that clown is the best skater of the bunch.”

After leaving the world of basketball, Lemon became a minister and family man, spreading good cheer to the people he loved the most. His likeness has been captured in two 1970s Hanna-Barbera animated shows, The Super Globetrotters and Harlem Globetrotters. Lemon was also inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

“Meadowlark was the most sensational, awesome, incredible basketball player I’ve ever seen,” Chamberlain said in a television interview not long before he died in 1999. “People would say it would be Dr. J or even Jordan. For me, it would be Meadowlark Lemon.”

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