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He is a preacher, comedian and hook-shot artist.

He is Harlem Globetrotters icon Meadowlark Lemon.

The “Clown Prince of Basketball” is still out on the hardwood at age 78. He practiced his world-famous hook shot on a recent morning at the Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale.

“I don’t like the word ‘old.’ I’m older. It’s what you’ve got here,” Meadowlark said pounding a fist against his heart.

A Scottsdale resident, Meadowlark plays in more than 60 games a year with his Harlem All-Stars team, including several coming games in Alaska.

Meadowlark, at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, said he is only about 15 pounds over his playing weight in his prime.

A Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2003, Meadowlark has not been in the media limelight for a long time. But he is still one of the brightest lights in basketball history, bringing joy to fans around the world with a career that spans 55 years and 16,000 games.

One gets a renewed sense of Meadowlark’s imprint and personality by reading his new book, “Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy,” written with Lee Stuart.

Meadowlark said his faith in God would keep him going until it’s time to quit.

“I’m going to be here in Scottsdale till Jesus comes.”

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Source: Peter Corbett, The Arizona Republic

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