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Harlem Globetrotters' Beloved 'Clown Prince' Meadlowlark Lemon Dies at 83

Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters shows off his large hands on arrival in London, May 17, 1959, where they will perform at the Empire Pool in Wembley for one week. (AP Photo)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Meadowlark Lemon, the "clown prince" of basketball's barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters, whose blend of hook shots and humor brought joy to millions of fans around the world, has died. He was 83.

Lemon's wife and daughter confirmed to the team that he died Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz., Globetrotters spokesman Brett Meister said Monday. Meister did not know the cause of death.

Though skilled enough to play professionally, Lemon instead wanted to entertain, his dream of playing for the Globetrotters hatched after watching a newsreel of the all-black team at a cinema house when he was 11.

Lemon ended up becoming arguably its most popular player, a showman known as much for his confetti-in-the-water-bucket routine and slapstick comedy as his half-court hook shots and no-look, behind-the-back passes.

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