Meadowlark Lemon leaves his body
Scores of times, I looked, always fruitlessly, for a glimpse of Meadowlark Lemon along or near his secluded long driveway on Fairfield Woods road in my hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut. Of course, he was regularly away from Fairfield, on the road for games, and eventually split from his first wife.
Meadowlark’s daughter Robin was in my high school French class for two years, and they both ultimately became ministers. Somehow and perhaps inexplicably, I mustered the self control not to bring up her celebrity father with Robin, nor to go through with my consideration in grade school of ringing Meadowlark’s bell in the hopes that he would answer. The only time I saw Meadowlark live off the court was in our high school parking lot in 1980, with his arm around Robin, a year ahead of me, after I had finished playing for the graduation with our high school band. I was starstruck, which is infrequent for me when I espy a celebrity. Meadowlark’s presence on that parking lot was astounding.
Many celebrities have lived in neighboring Westport, but Meadowlark’s name was the only one that came to my mind in my hometown.
I have not tended to be big on watching ball sports, save for an occasional good live lacrosse, hockey, basketball or football game here or there. Meadowlark and the Globetrotters transcended performing ball games by combining basketball mastery with resonating comedy. I saw the Globetrotters perform once or twice in the 1970’s at the New Haven Coliseum, and of course watched the 1970’s Globetrotters weekend cartoon.
Meadowlark passed away this past weekend at eighty-three. His obituaries point out the racial segregation in professional basketball when Meadowlark started in 1954 with the Globetrotters, and how the Globetrotters helped blaze a trail to integrate the professional basketball players.
Meadowlark transcended poverty in racially segregated North Carolina, apparently in the same town where the Andy Griffith Show was filmed, not only to realize his single-minded resolution to join the Globetrotters, but to be a winning top star of the team. That type of winning attitude and ability of course inspires me in my personal life and criminal defense practice.
Although I have not read Meadowlark’s autobiography, its title Trust Your Next Shot speaks terrific volumes.
Deeply thanking and bowing to Meadowlark Lemon.