Meadowlark Lemon
The legendary player was well known for his no-look-behind passes, hook shots and comedy routines on the courtGetty Images

Basketball legend Meadowlark Lemon, who entertained fans across the world with his unique antics on the court, died on 27 December in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 83. Lemon's wife Cynthia confirmed his death.

Known as the "Clown Prince of Basketball", the renowned Harlem Globetrotters player was well known for his "no-look-behind passes", hook shots and comedy routines on the court.

"He was an incredible entertainer and brought happiness and life long memories to millions around the world. We have lost a great ambassador of the game," chief executive of Globetrotters Kurt Schneider told BBC.

Lemon featured in 24 seasons and going by estimates, he may well have played more than 16,000 games with the Globetrotters – the touring exhibition basketball team well known for their smooth handling of the ball, practical jokes and red-white-and-blue uniforms.

Lemon grew up in North Carolina and joined the Harlem Globetrotters in 1954. Within no time, he gained much attention in the sport. Besides, his fame surpassed antics on the court and soon he became a popular star among children.

He made appearances on the The Ed Sullivan show, episodes of Scooby Doo and many national TV commercials. Lemon and his team were featured in a Hanna-Barbara cartoon series in the 1970s.

Lemon left the team in 1973 and launched several basketball teams. "My destiny had been to make people happy," Lemon said when he was inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2003.

In an interview with US broadcaster ABC in 2001, Lemon said that the Harlem Globetrotters were never driven by money. "We were having fun; we enjoyed what we did and I find that the young kids today, you know, they either go to college to learn to play basket ball so they can make a lot of money. This wasn't with us. We enjoyed what we did. I just wanted to be out there and entertain."