Harlem Globetrotters legend Meadowlark Lemon died on Sunday at 83, The New York Times first reported.
His death was confirmed by his wife, Cynthia Lemon.
Arguably the most famous Globetrotter in the almost 90-year history of the team, Lemon was known for entertaining crowds with his basketball skills—half-court hook shots and behind-the-back passes—along with his sense of humor.
Lemon joined the Globetrotters in 1954, becoming known as the “Clown Prince” during his 22 years with the team.
While known for their on-court antics, the Globetrotters made a difference in the history of the sport when they beat the NBA powerhouse Minneapolis Lakers 61–59 in 1948. That game is widely seen as the catalyst for the signing of the NBA’s first black player, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, in 1950.
The Globetrotters have long been known as ambassadors for both the United States and the game of basketball, playing exhibition games in 120 countries.
Born and raised in Wilmington, N.C., Lemon was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.