When You Give Joy, You Get Joy Back

Expressions of Love for Meadowlark

My fellow Wilmington, North Carolina native Meadowlark Lemon is a true national treasure. I watched him play for the Harlem Globetrotters when I was growing up and his skill with the basketball and dedication to the game were an inspiration not only to me, but to kids all around the world.

– Michael Jordan

Meadowlark and I share a common vision of bringing joy and laughter to others.

– Bill Cosby, beloved actor, comedian and occasional Globetrotter

Meadowlark was the most sensational, awesome, incredible basketball player I’ve ever seen. People would say it would be Dr. J or even Michael Jordan. For me, it would be Meadowlark Lemon.

– Wilt Chamberlain, the “Big Dipper”, who sometimes played with the Globetrotters, when asked who he thought was the best player of
all time

Meadowlark Lemon’s book Trust Your Next Shot is written by a remarkable person. I have had the pleasure of knowing Meadowlark for quite some time. He has given back to his community quite generously in addition to serving as an outstanding role model for young people. Meadowlark’s career has allowed him to touch people’s lives everywhere and I am so proud to be his friend. God has certainly touched his life.

– Lenny Wilkens, Hall of Famer both as a player and coach

I’m glad ‘Joy’ is in the title since Meadowlark brought so much of it to so many, including me.

– Jerry Lewis, legendary comedic actor

Meadowlark is the original Live Showtime.

– Mannie Jackson, at Meadowlark’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

“Meadowlark Lemon did more for basketball than 10 seasons of the Boston Celtics.

– Jim Murray, legendary sports writer – The Los Angeles Times

The Globetrotters made a lot of friends over the years – in towns and cities all over the world – and made basketball fans out of people who didn’t have any idea what basketball was. I first met Mead in North Carolina. I put him in a uniform that very night and he even got to play a little. He had a lot of confidence in what his intentions were. I told Abe (Saperstein) about him. I said, “That is a future Globetrotter.” He was already a good athlete. He made himself a natural comedian. He wanted to do the comedy routines. He did that through hard work, through concentration, and he applied himself. Without self-application, you never can do it. He saw something he wanted to do – a role he wanted to play – the comedy routines. He worked hard, and he accomplished what he wanted. Now, he’s not only a good basketball player, but a self-made comedian.

People liked him and enjoyed him and came back to see him over and over, and this has been going on for years.

– Marques Haynes, the legendary Globetrotter who gave Meadowlark his tryout with the team, HOF 1998

I enjoyed playing with Meadowlark for 15 years with the Globetrotters. We played over 6,000 games together all over the world. He’s an inspiration to me and I learned a lot from him. He’s one of the greatest showmen that ever played for the Globetrotters, right up there with ‘Goose’ Tatum and ‘Geese’ Ausbie. He’s always been a great friend and motivator for me.

All I think about are the good times with Meadowlark and fond memories of the two of us and the rest of the teammates, the joy of giving back to people and children all over the world.

The Globetrotters are one of the greatest basketball teams of all time. They gave Meadowlark and me a chance to perfect our basketball skills and showcase them all over the world. We want to thank Abe Saperstein and his family, and the Harlem Globetrotters.

– Curly Neal, the famous ball-handling showman of the Harlem Globetrotters

Meadowlark Lemon is one very clever man, unique and truly one of a kind.

– Mickey Rooney, beloved actor and comedian

To know him is to truly love him He’s an extremely nice man. I’m glad that we were inducted in the same class at the Hall of Fame (2003). The man is a true icon … Meadow is the kind of guy who would never have a bad night plying his craft. If you thought enough of him to pay to come and see him play, you truly got entertained.

– Earl Lloyd, first African-American to play in the NBA, HOF 2003

It is my honor and pleasure to be included in my ‘big brother’ Meadowlark Lemon’s book.

I am the daughter of Abe Saperstein, the founder and coach of the Harlem Globetrotters. We were raised as one big family, so I am very lucky to have a lot of big brothers!

How I remember that warm summer evening in Germany in the late 1950s. “Goose” Tatum had left the Globetrotters along with Marques Haynes to form their own team in 1952. My father kept looking for the ideal person to be ‘the Clown Prince of Basketball.’ No one seemed to fill the criteria my father had in his mind. Not until that warm evening … I was sitting next to my dad when this young soldier came over to us and introduced himself. ‘I’m Meadow Lemon.’ My dad and he spoke for a short time. Meadow then walked on. My father said to me he had seen Meadow play in the U.S. and then said, ‘Honey girl, you just met the future star of the Harlem Globetrotters!’ And how true that was for all those years!

– Eloise Saperstein, daughter of Globetrotters’ founder Abe Saperstein

Meadowlark and I have been friends for more than 50 years. When we were in high school, my team was probably the No.1 team in the state of North Carolina. His school, Williston High School, was probably the second best in the state, so it was always a challenge every time we had to compete against each other. Because of our relationship, I look for him at every golf tournament and event I appear at across the country. We have such a good time together. We grew up together, we are great friends, and we continue to be so.

– Sam Jones, legendary NBA All Star, HOF 1984

We roomed together for the first 12 years Meadowlark played with us. He’s one of the most dedicated Globetrotters I’ve ever been around. His primary objective every time he hit the floor was to make people happy, and make them have one of the greatest experiences of their lifetime. That was embedded in him. That’s all he thought about.

– Charles “Tex” Harrison, coach and former player of the Harlem Globetrotters

Mr. Lemon-Man has inspired millions across the world through his gift. I don’t refer only to basketball, but also to his magnificent gift of caring, sharing, and loving all people. I only hope my kids would possess an ounce of the Lemon-Man’s heart, which easily radiates through that smile.

– A.C. Green, Los Angeles Laker great, aka Ironman Founder, A.C. Green Youth Foundation

Meadowlark inspired me to play for a long time. I thought, ‘If he could do it, I can do it.’ The legacy that Meadowlark leaves is something that every child and adult can benefit from.

– Robert Parish, Boston Celtics Great, HOF 2003

Meadowlark always amazed me because of his rapport with the crowds that came out to see the Globetrotters. He is the funniest guy in the world. The character that he played – that’s his personality! He makes people laugh and open to receive the joy he brings with him. I love that guy.

I’m so proud of him. God took him from being lost to finding a great wife and family.

I’m glad he’s sharing his life story. He is a precious person. We are all precious and valuable and unique. That skill that you have – you already have the skills to make it in this world – that’s the way God planned it. All you have to do is develop them.

`When we talk on the phone – before we even start talking – we are laughing.´

– Rosey Grier, former NFL All-Pro Defensive Tackle, member of the Fearsome Foursome

The word came to us at Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) in 1982 that ‘the’ Meadowlark Lemon was born again. We could not even dream that this legend would grace our little TV station. But one day, bigger than life, he walked in with a grin from ear to ear and a heart as big as a basketball and a spirit that would melt your soul.

It was love at first sight, and second and third, and until this day.

I remember inviting Meadowlark to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a TBN family rally. We were staying in a hotel there and we were to meet in the lobby at 5 o’clock to ride to the auditorium together. We heard there was a huge group of teenagers celebrating their graduation

from high school but thought ‘they won’t know us, so we’ll just go right through the crowd.’

All of a sudden, I heard screaming and shouting and running toward our group.

I thought ‘ohhhhh no, they know us and we’ll be late,’ but all I could see was bodies running past me and screaming ‘Meadowlark, Meadowlark, Meadowlark Lemon!’

They jumped and screamed and got autographs and pictures for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, I was standing close by just holding his coat and Bible. He was gracious to all of them.

I think in the end I said, ‘Sir, can I have your autograph, too?’ I probably still have it somewhere to this day. After all, it’s Meadowlark Lemon, people! The Meadowlark Lemon! Now, get me this book. I can’t wait to read it. I wonder if he’d autograph one for me – ‘Oh, I hope so!’ Make it out to: ‘Your best friend on earth, Jan Crouch,’ please?? I wanna show it to my grandchildren. They’ll think Gramma’s cool.

– Jan Crouch, founder, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) founder, Smile of a Child Foundation

Meadowlark Lemon is the most popular Harlem Globetrotter who ever played. He is truly an icon who made history in basketball and deserves his honor being in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Meadowlark belongs with all the great, great, greats of our time in sports, but his No.1 love and passion is serving and living for the Lord in his life. Just for the record: If the world had more Meadowlark Lemons, it would be a much better place! I’m honored to call him my friend.

– Jimmy Walker, founder of Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night, friend, and Trustee of Harlem Globetrotters

Meadowlark Lemon is the definition of comedy basketball. He is an incredibly brilliant combination of a physical comedian who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand as well as have them in stitches with the things that he says and the timing with which he says them. He mixes the skills of the best Las Vegas magician’s technique of close-up magic and the precision of the most graceful basketball player. There could be only ONE Meadowlark Lemon. I am honored to say that Meadowlark Lemon is my friend.

– Stuart Hersh, public relations professional, Hollywood promoter

Mercy Ministries has been blessed to call Meadowlark a friend. He has a way of connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds using his God-given sense of humor to not only make you laugh, but also to share the truth of God’s Word in a unique way. Meadowlark never misses an opportunity to minister to our girls and we are so grateful for his heart for Mercy!

– Nancy Alcorn, founder and president, Mercy Ministries International

Meadow called and wanted me to guard Wilt Chamberlain on an NBC Sports World TV special. He was launching the Bucketeers at the time. I was to be on the ‘stooge team’ – the California Coasters. I went to training camp and was in intense sessions learning the tricks and the choreography of the show.

Meadowlark got this wild hair about being different. He called me into his office one day and asked me if I wanted to make ‘sports history’ by becoming the first white player to play comedy basketball alongside him, Wilt, Marques Haynes, Jumpin’ Jackie Jackson, and many others. I asked him if I had to wear the Bucketeers’ funky hats and he said I had to. I said ‘OK’ anyway.

After being an All-American basketball player, I was blessed to get the call from Meadow. It was amazing riding on that lemon yellow bus and looking at Meadowlark and the others who I had pictures of on my wall when I was growing up.

– Allen Winder, the “Blue-Eyed Soul Brother,” founder Adub Studios, and player for Meadowlark Lemon’s Bucketeers

For people everywhere – whether a fan of basketball or not – you knew who Meadowlark Lemon was. I have fond memories of the antics Meadowlark performed on the basketball court and the happiness that emanated from him. He was not only an inspiration for what he achieved in the game, but is an inspiration for who he is as a person. It is an honor to know him.

– Fran Judkins, Senior Director of Professional Relations, Basketball Hall of Fame

Meadowlark, you are the best!

– Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks, CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame

To my 1/2 brother, Meadowlark: May the Lord Jesus continue to open doors for you that no man can close! Thanks for your encouragement along the way!

– Bob Wieland, “Mr. Inspiration,” author of One Step at a Time, motivational speaker, and actor

I have been associated with famous people most of my life, but none more beloved than Meadowlark Lemon.

– Actor Bruce Locke (Robocop 3, Mortal Kombat Conquest)

I consider this a great honor and privilege to share about a good, trusting friend and co-worker, Meadowlark Lemon, #36. I told him the #3 stood for God and the #6 stood for man. When they’re put together it stands for God-Man. Truly a remarkable ambassador of joy, I’ve seen people come into his presence and begin to laugh spontaneously!

It’s unlikely that an outsider would be welcome in the trust of the people on the reservations. When he conducted a basketball clinic in Low Mountain, Ariz., the Indian children were thrilled to receive a Meadowlark Lemon basketball and T-shirt. It was there that I saw his amazing ability to work with the Navajo children with the same professional skills that he demonstrates in every area of his life. His dream is to motivate Native American athletes to reach professional status. That first clinic resulted in several invitations to Indian reservations. It was there that we introduced him to Fry Bread. When he conducted a clinic in Auburn, Calif., he joined the Indian children in the Indian friendship dance. We gave him the name “Chief.” His countenance lit up and a big smile came across his face. It’s an awesome feeling to get to work and play as a member of the Harlem All Stars, as well. He made me an official player. My instructions were to “just stand there until we give you the ball. Don’t try to make the basket, and don’t chase after the ball. We will get it.” To everyone’s amazement, I made six points. You will probably cry, laugh, and jump for joy as you read this man’s life. God bless you, #36.

– Pastor Ray and Ceci Ramos, friends and partners in our outreach to American Indians, Festival of Life, World Outreach Ministries, The United Auburn Indian Community, Auburn, California

Meadowlark Lemon is a living basketball legend and a household name. In fact, his name is one of the most well known, not just in America, but in all the world.

The late, great basketball Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain described Meadowlark Lemon as the greatest basketball player he had ever played with or witnessed.

Meadowlark Lemon is much more than just a world-renowned basketball player. It’s been my privilege to have been his friend and pastor for the past 18 years. I discovered Meadowlark to be one of the most humble, kindest and giving persons I’ve ever met. He has given of himself to countless charitable causes, churches and individuals. He has the heart of a servant and is constantly engaged in helping people. Meadowlark Lemon is not just a great athlete, he is a great person.

– Pastor Michael Maiden, Church for the Nations, Phoenix, Arizona home church pastor to the Lemon family

Meadowlark is poetry in motion, coupled with charisma, charm, and character, captivating crowds around the world. He is a ‘globe-trotter’ in more ways than one. He is leadership and laughter intertwined and JOY could be his middle name. He is more than the Clown Prince of Basketball, he is a class act in the Game of Life.

Society suggests that ‘good guys come in last.’ Mr. Lemon reminds us that not only can good guys win in the end but they can laugh loud, enjoying the journey in the process.

Over the years I have met quite a few people, but no one with the heart, work ethic, and genuine love for others that Meadowlark has. He is more than a showman, he is a spokesman of truth that transcends race, time and culture.

His new book is more than a slam dunk, it will ‘assist’ you to score like never before in every aspect of life. ‘The Greats are Gracious’ and Meadowlark Lemon is both.

– Frank Shelton, author, motivator & friend

Meadowlark brings a lifetime of wisdom and experience to life in this book. I love his stories and his straightforward, no-nonsense approach to life and living. He is a wonderful servant to his God and his fellow man. Meadowlark Lemon is a true National Treasure.

– Todd Perry, CEO/executive director, The Pujols Family Foundation