Meadowlark Lemon, who played more than 16,000 career games with the Harlem Globetrotters and entertained audiences with his clowning around both on and off the court, died Sunday. He was 83.
The basketball hall of famer died in Scottsdale, Arizona where he lived, his wife Cynthia Lemon confirmed , according to The New York Times.
Lemon, whose given name was Meadow Lemon III, began his career with the Globetrotters in 1954 after returning from serving in the armed forces and admiring the team for years. For the next two decades, Lemon made his way to becoming the center showman of the team along with also shining on the court with his long-distance hook shot and no-look passes, the Times reported.
Throughout his time with the Globetrotters, the North Carolina native became known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball” for his comedic acts on the court.
Fans enjoyed his famous confetti-in-the-water-bucket routine where he chased referees with a bucket and surprised them with confetti, according to his official website.
After traveling the nation and world and playing more than 16,000 lifetime career games with the Globetrotters, Lemon left the team in 1979 and started his own comedic basketball team — Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All Stars.
The comedic team aims to "provide a wholesome entertainment alternative for families in the United State and abroad," according to his website.
Lemon was inducted into the NBA Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and three years prior received the NBA Lifetime Achievement award.
Aside from his basketball career, Lemon also starred on television shows and in films, recorded albums, became an ordained minister, and also served as a motivational and inspirational keynote speaker.
Lemon, who was number 36 on the Globetrotters, was only one of five team members to have his number retired, according to ESPN. The other members were Wilt Chamberlain, Fred "Curly" Neal, Marques Haynes and Reece "Goose" Tatum.