Basketball legend Meadowlark Lemon died at age 83 in Scottdale, Arizona on December 27, 2015. Lemon was the court jester of the Harlem Globetrotters for 22 seasons before venturing off to play for the Bucketeers, then later with the Shooting Stars and in 1988 starting "Meadowlark Lemon's All Stars". In 1994, Lemon played 50 games for the Harlem Globetrotters while still playing for his own touring team.
In Meadowlark Lemon's prime, he played 325 games a year. After missing one game in Germany after a bad meal of goulash in 1955, Lemon played 7,500 consecutive games for the Harlem Globetrotters, which was the equivalent of 92 NBA seasons. But Lemon was known for more than his perfect attendance on the courts.
Wilt Chamberlain played with Meadowlark Lemon for the 1958-59 season on the Harlem Globetrotters. Wilt Chamberlain lauded Lemom shortly before his Wilt's death in 1999: “Meadowlark was the most sensational, awesome, incredible basketball player I've ever seen. People would say it would be Dr. J or even [Michael] Jordan. For me it would be Meadowlark Lemon.” Lemon could make unbelievable behind the back half-court baskets and was known for his long range hook shot.
Supplementing his superior skill set at basketball fundamentals, Meadowlark Lemon was a showman. He enthusiastically embraced being the "Clown Prince" of basketball, by doing a regular shtick of throwing a bucket-full of confetti and pulling down the pants of referees. Meadowlark Lemon was inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Clown Hall of Fame.
Aside from being an athlete and an entertainer, Meadowlark Lemon had a spiritual side. Lemon became an ordained minister in 1986 and a Doctor of Divinity in 1988 from Vision International University. Along with his second wife Dr. Cynthia Lemon, he founded Meadowlark Lemon Ministries with a mission "Changing lives to change the world" by leveraging his books, media, evangelical outreach along with Camp Meadowlark basketball camp as inspiration to stay focused and finish strong message aimed at keep kids away from the path of substance abuse.
Meadowlark Lemon Ministries has a special outreach to youths in detention facilities and prisons. Meadowlark's message to these troubled souls is that you are not alone, you are uniquely special, God has great plans for you and you are forgiven.
Through his excellence on the courts and comedy, Meadowlark Lemon could entertain and elevate his fans. Parlaying his successes on the court to his ministry, Meadowlark Lemon helped elevate himself and others to a higher level. Rest In Peace Clown Prince of Basketball.