The Harlem Globetrotters
Lemon’s career began in 1954 with the Harlem Globetrotters. They were a basketball exhibition team for whom he combined elements of skill, theatre and comedy. He became the Clown Prince of Basketball, and was voted one of America’s most recognisable faces, alongside Alan Alda, Bob Hope, and John Wayne.
Lemon was contacted by the Harlem Globetrotters while he was at high school. However, he did not join until two years later due to his service in the armed forces. Once he became a team member he averaged more than 350 games a year, travelling a vast 5 million miles in his career. Notably he spent a lot of time in the racially tense southern states in the 1950s. He soon became a key figure in African American history and the growth of race relations in the USA.
Meadowlark Lemon as Team Owner and Minister
He finally left the Harlem Globetrotters to form his own teams including Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All Stars. These teams attracted the top stars and worked with young people to help them form healthy ideas and values. Lemon made many school visits to promote family and community. He also worked closely with charities and left messages of hope and courage.
Lemon went on to become a church minister and served as a chaplain for sports teams as well as the USA armed forces. His basketball camp also taught young people about the importance of education and health.
Meadowlark Lemon was truly inspiring. His spirit and fun on the court endeared him to generations of fans. This lifted him above the ranks of a popular player to a true basketball legend. Throughout his long career he became a true embodiment of positive living. Of all the 2015 sporting deaths, Lemon’s passing truly leaves the biggest hole.