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Harlem Globetrotters' Meadowlark Lemon to be grand marshal of DooDah Parade - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

Harlem Globetrotters' Meadowlark Lemon to be grand marshal of DooDah Parade

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Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011 12:00 am

Meadowlark Lemon, the world famous “Clown Prince of Basketball” and an NBA Hall of Famer, will be grand marshal of Ocean City’s Doo Dah Parade on Saturday, April 16. He will also be guest of honor at a dinner theater program in his honor on Friday, April 15 at the Flanders Hotel. Tickets to this event will be available through the Public Relations Office, (609) 525-9300.

Meadowlark Lemon was the most popular member of Harlem Globetrotters. His name and patented hook shot are ingrained in the memories of generations. He has performed his on-court artistry in almost every country in the world.

Meadowlark has traveled more than 5 million miles and played in more than 16,000 basketball games. His love for the game brought smiles to generations of fans in over 100 countries, from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Popes, kings and queens and presidents watched him perform his on court magic.

A gifted athlete and hilarious comedian, Lemon was as renowned for his famous confetti in the water bucket routine as he was for hitting hook shots from half court.

In his nationally syndicated column, Los Angeles Times sports writer Jim Murray described Meadowlark Lemon as “an American institution whose uniform should hang alongside the Spirit of St. Louis and the Gemini Space capsule in the halls of the Smithsonian Institute.”

Meadowlark’s rise to fame embodies the American Dream. His was a storybook climb from the poverty of a small town right to an international basketball team. At the age of 11, a movie news reel about the Harlem Globetrotters captured Meadowlark’s heart and sent him running home to tell his father of his newfound life’s desire to join the team.

He had no money for a basketball so he rigged up a makeshift backyard hoop with an onion sack and a coat hanger and used an empty milk can for his first two-point shot.

He became a tremendous high school athlete. His practicing schedule kept him on the court from eight to twelve hours a day.

He credits clean living for his good health and stamina. Meadowlark abstained from alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

Shortly before his graduation from high school, the Globetrotters contacted the promising athlete. Following a two year stint in the Army, Lemon joined the team. And so began the career of one of this nation’s most gifted and talented athletes.

He was inducted into the NBA Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and received the NBA Lifetime Achievement Jim Bunn Award in 2000. Still active on the court at age 78, he currently plays with his own comedic basketball team, Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All-Stars.

The ageless hoop master also strives to reach today’s youth through Camp Meadowlark, a co-ed sports camp, begun in 1989 to educate and offer children alternatives to the dangers of substance abuse. Through their nationwide camps, Meadowlark and his staff stress the importance of drug awareness and the urgency of the problems gripping our youth.

Meadowlark says, “Being able to reach out and talk to kids about substance abuse and have an impact on their lives is my main purpose for the camp.”

Meadowlark has appeared in scores of TV commercials and numerous movies. He has recorded an album “My Kids” for RCA and Casablanca Records.

“It was something I’ve always wanted to do because I deal with a lot of kids on the road and at home,” he said. He is the father of ten children, five girls and five boys.

“Just about everything I’ve wanted to tell a kid is laid out on that record.”

The message is one of universal love. Meadowlark has recently released a new CD titled “Welcome to My World,” on the Cross Roads music label, that includes the famous “Sweet Georgia Brown” Globetrotters anthem.

Whether it’s making people laugh or offering inspiration, giving has always been a part of Meadowlark’s life. In 1986 he became an ordained minister and in 1988 received his Doctorate of Divinity. He hosts “The Meadowlark Lemon Show,” televised nationally and internationally each week by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. It has won numerous awards.

Meadowlark is married to Dr. Cynthia Lemon, who is a doctor of naturopathy. They recently formed the Meadowlark Lemon Foundation, an organization dedicated to “changing lives to change the world.”

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Heart Disease is still the number one killer of women. Learn the facts; prevention information and resources are available regarding Women’s Heart Disease.

There will be a free seminar in recognition of the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day today, Thursday, Jan 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the Ocean City Community Center, 1735 Simpson Ave. No registration is required.

Brenda Harper Davis will speak about her personal experience with heart disease. Debbie VanSant will offer resources from the American Heart Association. Participate in a wake up program offered by the Aquatic and Fitness Center staff, enjoy healthy snacks and beverages. For information, call (609) 398-6900.

The Ocean City PTA will present a Beat the Blizzard Movie on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m. in the Sports and Civic Center, Sixth Street and Boardwalk. The movie will be “Despicable Me,” rated PG. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children and includes movie, pizza, popcorn and more. For information, call (609) 517-5049.

The Ocean City Historical Museum, 17th and Simpson Ave., is hosting its annual CHILDREN’S TEA on Saturday, Feb. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. This year’s theme is “How We Get to Ocean City: Trains, Automobiles and Planes,” and is perfect for boys and girls ages 6 to12. They will be invited to play games, do arts and crafts and most of all enjoy an afternoon tea.

Spaces fill up quickly. Pre-registration and payment is required at $3 per person. One adult must accompany every three children. To register call (609) 399-1801 or stop by the museum, located in the Community Center, 17th and Simpson, Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The OCEAN CITY ARTS CENTER, 17th St. and Simpson Ave., and the FINE ARTS LEAGUE, 608 Asbury Ave., both have free exhibits during January.

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