Globetrotters great Meadowlark Lemon leaves entertaining legacy even seen on cardboard

meadowlark-lemonBasketball Hall of Famer and legendary Harlem Globetrotters showman Meadowlark Lemon has died, the team announced on Monday. He was 83.

Known as “The Clown Prince of Basketball,” Lemon was a fixture for the traveling exhibition team beginning in 1954. He’s one of just five players to have his number retired by the team and he played more than 7,500 games in the red, white and blue before retiring in the late-1970s. He joined the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

“Meadowlark was the most sensational, awesome, incredible basketball player I’ve ever seen,” former Globetrotter Wilt Chamberlain told The New York Times in 1999. “People would say it would be Dr. J or even Jordan. For me, it would be Meadowlark Lemon.”

Off the court, he was one of the core players often seen on the Globetrotters’ cartoon series, some memorable episodes of Scooby-Doo and, of course, seen on plenty of cardboard.

lemon2Lemon can be found on more than 100 different basketball cards and many of them come from a pair of sets made by Fleer back in the early 1970s. (His “Rookie Card” from the 1971 set is above.)

He had his first of nearly 40 different certified autographed cards in the early 2000s after he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Those were made by Upper Deck and can be found in 2003-04 Upper Deck Legends, 2004-05 SP Signature Edition, 2005-06 SP Authentic and 2005-06 SP Game-used.

He’s also had cards in recent years with Panini America‘s Hall of Fame presence leading to cards in brands such as National Treasures and Golden Age, while Leaf Trading Cards and SportKings also included his autographs in products. Topps included him in its 2012 Allen & Ginter release for his most-recent autographs.

Lemon also appears on more than a dozen memorabilia cards made through the years with all but one of them made by SportKings in 2008. His only other memorabilia card is in the 2012 Ginter release.

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