SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Meadowlark Lemon, the “clown prince” of basketball’s barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters whose blend of hook shots and humor brought joy to millions of fans around the world, has died. He was 83.
Lemon’s wife and daughter confirmed to the team that he died Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz., Globetrotters spokesman Brett Meister said Monday. Meister did not know the cause of death.
Though skilled enough to play professionally, Lemon instead wanted to entertain, developing his dream of playing for the Globetrotters after watching a newsreel of the all-black team at a cinema house when he was 11.
Lemon ended up becoming arguably the Globetrotters’ most popular player. He was a showman known as much for his confetti-in-the-water-bucket routine and slapstick comedy as his half-court hook shots and no-look, behind-the-back passes.
A sign of his crossover appeal, Lemon was inducted to both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Clown Hall of Fame.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@ShadowLeagueTSL
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