In this May 17, 1959, file photo, Meadowlark Lemon, of the Harlem Globetrotters, shows off his large hands on arrival in London where the team was to perform at the Empire Pool in Wembley for a week. (AP Photo/File)
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Meadowlark Lemon, the court jester of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team who delighted audiences around the world for some 25 years with an array of trick shots, comedy routines and pure charisma, has died at the age of 83, the team announced Monday.Lemon was the undisputed master of the long-range hook shot, rubber-band ball and other crowd-pleasing tricks during the years he wore the Globetrotters' star-spangled red, white and blue uniform.The team's website said he played in 7,500 consecutive games – the equivalent of more than 92 NBA seasons – in some 100 countries before audiences that included everyone from Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to three popes.He was born Meadow Lemon III in Wilmington, North Carolina, and was unfamiliar with not just the Globetrotters but the game of basketball until he saw a newsreel about the team at a movie theater at the age of 11 . Lemon left the Globetrotters in 1979 but returned for 50 games in 1994 . He also started three comedy-basketball teams of his own over the years but none caught on like the Globetrotters.
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