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Globetrotters Legend, Wilmington Native Meadowlark Lemon Dies At 83

Legendary basketball entertainer Meadowlark Lemon, who grew up in Wilmington, died Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 83.

Lemon achieved worldwide fame with the Harlem Globetrotters. He was known for his half-court hook shoots and trick passes – and his comedy on the court, earning the title "Clown Prince of Basketball." He was the nucleus of a Globetrotters team that became so big, it had its own cartoon in the 1970s.

In 2008, Lemon was on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks and recalled his first exposure to the Globetrotters as a child in Wilmington.

“We would go to the Ritz Theatre every Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. We would watch five cartoons, three westerns, and anything else they put on the screen – and the newsreel. And they (Globetrotters) seemed to make that ball talk. I took notice, and I said ‘this is what I want to do.’”

meadowlark_lemon_2008.mp3
March 25, 2008, "Charlotte Talks" featuring Meadowlark Lemon.

Lemon was with the Globetrotters for 24 years, from 1954 to 1978, He later formed his own teams and a ministry in Scottsdale, Ariz., that traveled to youth basketball camps and youth prisons. He was also inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.