Those of us of a certain age will always remember how the Harlem Globetrotters amazed us and made us laugh. Every member of that team could do astounding things (remember Curly Neal micro-dribbling all over the place?) but Meadowlark Lemon was first among equals, the public face (always a smile) and voice (you could hear him in the cheap seats at Madison Square Garden!) of this unique American institution, traveling from town to town, vanquishing the hapless Jersey Reds. Meadowlark lifted our spirits for all those decades, and he kept doing it off the court too, as an ordained minister and humanitarian.
Tributes to Meadowlark have popped up everywhere, and I invite you to enjoy them all on YouTube, where they’re multiplying like… well, like YouTube videos.
This clip is a little out of the ordinary. It’s a commercial for an insurance company. But it’s sweet, and it gives you the essential Meadowlark in a quick 1:30. Enjoy:
Then there’s this beautiful piece in the Washington Post by Mike Jones who met Lemon at the ballplayer’s sports clinic, “Camp Meadowlark.”
At a time when most athletes simply don’t deserve to be role models (the Yankees just signed a high-profile pitcher despite accusations he choked his girlfriend and fired a gun in their garage) it’s nice to take a moment to remember a nice guy who put the fans… and his fellow man… first.