Sad news today from Arizona, where Harlem Globetrotters legendary court jester Meadowlark Lemon has died at the age of 83. From the New York Times:

Meadowlark Lemon, whose halfcourt hook shots, no-look behind-the-back passes and vivid clowning were marquee features of the feel-good traveling basketball show known as the Harlem Globetrotters for nearly a quarter-century, died on Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 83.

 

The death was confirmed by his wife, Cynthia Lemon.

 

A gifted athlete with an entertainer’s hunger for the spotlight, Lemon, who dreamed of playing for the Globetrotters as a boy in North Carolina, joined the team in 1954, not long after leaving the Army. Within a few years, he had assumed the central role of showman, taking over from Reece Tatum, whom everyone called Goose, the Trotters’ long-reigning clown prince.

To learn more about Lemon, go read his feature story from SLAM 154. RIP.