ABOUT MEADOWLARK LEMON
The Legendary Meadowlark Lemon, Basketball Hall of Famer, Harlem Globetrotter, Actor, Author, Speaker, Motivator, Veteran and Minister spent his life bringing JOY, HOPE and INSPIRATION to millions of people around the world. Whether performing before Kings, Queens, Presidents, Popes, Dignitaries, Celebrities or Fans on the basketball court…coaching children at a “Camp Meadowlark” Basketball Camp, speaking to the homeless encouraging them to “Never Give Up,” ministering to veterans, youth in prisons or children in the hospital, mentoring young athletes in the NBA and NFL or speaking to corporations or leaders at the Pentagon, Meadowlark was passionate about making a difference in this world.
Meadowlark captivated crowds with his charisma, charm and character and felt a Joyful connection with his audiences which fueled his energy to give them his best night after night. He touched lives and hearts giving generations memories to last a lifetime. He was known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball” and “Ambassador of Good will in Short Pants,” with his patented hook shot. He traveled more than 5 million miles and played in more than 16,000 games for the Harlem Globetrotters in 100 countries in a career that began in 1954 and lasted until 1979, and in 1993 Meadowlark went back with the Harlem Globetrotters for a 50 game “comeback” season. In 1979, after 26 seasons as a world famous Harlem Globetrotter, Meadowlark left the team to fulfill another dream, his own comedic basketball team, Meadowlark Lemon’s Bucketeers (1980-83), the Shooting Stars (1984-1987), and, Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All Stars™ (1988 – 2015).
In 2015, at the age of 83, Meadowlark was invited to once again join his beloved Globetrotters for their 90th Anniversary Tour. He was honored, excited and anticipating the reunion with his teammates and his incredible fans, however the night before he was to step on the airplane to Chicago for that special reunion…with his bags packed and sitting by the door… he quietly passed away. That night the world lost one of its most beloved and treasured individuals.
Meadowlark Lemon was an ICON who helped change the face of American history, Black history, and Sports history! Meadowlark was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003, and received it’s John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, the highest honor given by the Hall of Fame outside of induction. He was also enshrined with the Harlem Globetrotters Team in 2002, and received the Team’s John Bunn Award in 1999. In 1997, at Ebony Magazine’s 50th anniversary, Meadowlark was honored with the Sports Legends Award.
THE MOST IMPORTANT SATURDAY OF HIS LIFE - MEADOWLARK’S CHILDHOOD DREAM
It all began on a Saturday morning at the age of 11 when Meadowlark sat with his friends at the Ritz Theater in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, a place where he and his friends spent weekends transfixed on the big screen as it brought their hopes and dreams to life. That day a newsreel about the Harlem Globetrotters captured Meadowlark’s heart and sent him running home to tell his father of his new found life’s desire to join the team.
Meadowlark was determined then and there that he was someday going to be a Harlem Globetrotter. He firmly believed that God planted this dream in his heart and then gave him the relentless desire, determination, energy and the talent to pursue his dream. He had no money for a basketball, so he rigged up a makeshift, backyard hoop with an onion sack and coat hanger, and used an empty carnation milk can for his first two-point shot. That humble beginning was to be the start of a sports legacy that would span the universe.
SURVIVOR TO SUPERSTAR, MEADOWLARK'S INSPIRING MESSAGE
FROM SURVIVOR TO SUPERSTAR, Meadowlark’s life was proof that Nothing is Impossible and Dreams really can come True…he wanted everyone to know theirs could too!
Throughout his journey Meadowlark strived to deliver a message of hope, inspiring and encouraging others to pursue their dreams, the importance of vision, determination, perserverence, kindness, respect, responsibility, teamwork and other important philosophies which worked for him that would guide them in their journey. He informed children and adults they were special…born with a unique purpose and to make the most of their God-given gifts, encouraging them to stay focused and “finish strong” in every endeavor.
From poverty to an ICON on the World Stage, no matter what challenge or adversity Meadowlark faced, he chose to inspire others, look for the good in every situation and live a life of JOY.
“Meadowlark had a heart as big as a basketball, and a spirit that would melt your soul …”
~Jan Crouch, Founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)
One day after holding a Camp Meadowlark for children in a Native American Community in California, Meadowlark had a surprise for the boys and girls…he gave each of them attending their own personal basketball. When he came to end of the line, there was 1 little boy without a basketball. Meadowlark could not bare the thought of leaving that young boy without a basketball… he thought back to his childhood when he had to use a carnation milk can, and how much it would have meant to have a real basketball. So he told the little boy… “I’ll be back with your basketball.” That evening he drove140 miles roundtrip to the nearest store to buy a basketball for the little boy. He would never forget the BIG SMILE on that little boys face when he returned. THAT was the HEART of Meadowlark Lemon…always striving to bring hope and joy to everyone he touched.
In 1994 Meadowlark and his wife, Dr. Cynthia Lemon, founded Meadowlark Lemon Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing lives, to change the world.” In 1986, Meadowlark became an ordained minister, and in 1998, he received a Doctorate of Divinity from Vision International University. In 1994, Dr. Cynthia Lemon became an ordained minister and they worked together as a team with a heart for people and a message of hope, joy, grace and unmerited favor.