Lemon offers a pretzel to a referee during a game at Madison Square Garden in 1978.(Photo: AP).
George “Meadowlark” Lemon, known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball” for his captivating and amusing style during his 24-season run with the Harlem Globetrotters died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Sunday.
Lemon, whose cause of death was not disclosed, developed an unworldly hook shot – often using at near half court – during his Globetrotters career that spanned 7,500 games in more than 100 countries.
“For a generation of fans, the name Meadowlark Lemon was synonymous with the Harlem Globetrotters,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider in a statement.
While the Globetrotters performed all over the world, they were most known for their regular appearances on TV during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and Lemon often served as the team’s unofficial spokesperson.
If you paid close enough attention, the Globetrotters, especially Lemon, brought a flair to basketball that has been emulated at the highest level of the game, the NBA.
Lemon, a native of Wilmington, N.C., received the John W. Bunn Award, an honor that recognizes outstanding lifetime contributions to basketball, in 2000.
The Globetrotters announced they are dedicating this season – the team’s 90th overall – to Lemon and fellow legend Marques Haynes, who died in May..