Basketball 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.