MEADOWLARK LEMON. The very name makes you smile.

For those too young to remember, Lemon is "The Clown Prince of Basketball," best known for his 25-plus-year career with the Harlem Globetrotters. But he has been with other teams and still finds time to play 60 to 80 games a year with the Meadowlark Lemon Harlem All-Stars. To date, he's played 16,125 consecutive games.

Take that Cal Ripken.

"I'm ageless," Meadowlark said with a laugh.

He's in town to promote his new book, "Trust Your Next Shot," which covers everything from how to live to what to eat.

"It's more than just a title," he explained. "It's the way I live. I know a lot of [prominent] people who write books that throw people under the bus. I wanted to write a different kind of book.

"There's a saying that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. But I say a man has to live a life of joy."

Lemon has certainly done that. He has played in more than 100 countries, before three popes, an assortment of kings and queens, and every U.S. president from Dwight D. Eisenhower on.

He played alongside some of the game's greatest, too, including the late Wilt Chamberlain.

"He was the best of all time," Lemon said. "There will never be another Wilt. He played one full season with us [1958-59] and 13 all together. He used to get done his NBA season and then join us wherever we were."

Lemon said he loves Philly, and not just because it's Wilt's hometown. "I have a daughter that lives here, and I love Philly subs," he said.

His book is available on and the usual retail outlets.

Tomorrow, Lemon will be holding court at the Barnes & Noble in Willow Grove from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Those who stop by and buy his book are guaranteed two things.

An autograph from a basketball legend.

And a smile.

- Tom Mahon

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