"Meadowlark Lemon was one of the finest and most decent people I’ve ever known.
Like most of my era, I remember, as a boy, my father taking me to see the “Clown Prince of Basketball” and the Harlem Globetrotters. However, it will be Meadowlark “The Man” that I was fortunate to get to know later in life and whom I will always remember.
Meadowlark Lemon was a man of faith who loved people, and believed in giving back.
Born in Lexington, South Carolina, Meadowlark and his family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he grew up. After playing basketball at Florida A&M and a stint in the US Army, it was on to the Harlem Globetrotters. Meadowlark quickly emerged as the most famous Globetrotter at a time when they could defeat almost any NBA team.
We think of Meadowlark for his on-court antics, but he was a great basketball player and an even greater person.
Speaking to inner-city youth at a Salvation Army event I was involved in a few years ago, Meadowlark told the kids that, “There’s no excuse in missing a free throw shot. It’s free. They’re giving it to you. Take it!”
Meadowlark knew what he was talking about. His lifetime free throw percentage of 97 percent is the best of anyone who has ever played the game.
Meadowlark had his own Christian ministry and it touched many. He prayed with President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office and he witnessed to and prayed with Alabama Governor George Wallace at his bedside."
Van Hipp is Chairman of American Defense International, Inc. He has been involved in defense and security matters since 1990 when he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Reserve Forces and Mobilizations. Later, he was named by then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, to be the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Navy. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Mr. Hipp served on active duty in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Democracy. Mr. Hipp is a frequent writer and speaker on defense and international policy issues.