Monday, December 28, 2015

Goodbye Meadowlark, and Thanks for All the Fun!

by Pa Rock
Fan of Fun

Meadowlark Lemon, at one time the heart, soul, and funny bone of the Harlem Globetrotters, has died at his home in Arizona.  He was eighty-three.

Lemon, who was called the "clown prince" of the famous exhibition basketball team, played for the Globetrotters for a quarter of a century, from 1954 until 1978.  His name was synonymous with that of the team, and he was a face and a character that the crowds loved.

One of my earliest movie memories was going with my parents to see a film about the Harlem Globetrotters at the Orpheum Theater in Neosho, Missouri.  Then, after we became a television household, I was able to see them perform every year or so on the Saturday afternoon sports programs.  And those were the Meadowlark years.  What a treat it was to see him effortlessly sink a half-court hook shot, and how hysterical it was when he or one of his teammates would sling a bucket of confetti ono a startled audience member - or a referee.  The shocked victim always expected the bucket to be filled with water, and sometimes it was!

I had the good fortune of being able to see the Globetrotters play in person at the University of Missouri in 1999.  By that time Meadowlark had been retired for more than two decades, but the Globetrotter spirit and talent and outrageous humor that Lemon had done so much to foster lived on.

Lemon, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, went on to play with some other comic teams after his retirement from the Globetrotters, and he even had his own team, Meadowlark Lemon's Harlem All-Stars.  He also appeared in numerous movies and television programs.

Not many will pass this way with the talent and grace of Meadowlark Lemon.  He was an American icon and will truly be missed.

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