A legendary entertainer and basketball player who earned the nickname the “Clown Prince of Basketball” has died. ESPN reports that George “Meadowlark” Lemon, who spent 24 years with the Harlem Globetrotters, died Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 83.
“Lemon, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003, joined the Globetrotters in 1954 at age 22 and stayed with the traveling show until 1978, appearing in more than 16,000 games in more than 100 countries,” the story reports. “He is one of only five Globetrotters to have their numbers retired since the team was founded in Chicago in the 1920s.”
Following his departure from the Globetrotters, Lemon continued to play into his 70s, touring with his own teams — Meadowlark Lemon’s Bucketeers, the Shooting Stars and Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All-Stars.
Lemon’s death follows the death in May of another longtime Globetrotter, Marques Haynes, who also had his number retired. The other team members whose numbers have been retired are Wilt Chamberlain, Fred “Curly” Neal and Reece “Goose” Tatum.
No cause of death was announced for Lemon.