Having a Legacy Beyond the Court: Meadowlark Lemon
The NBA finals are right around the corner. As fans root for their favorite team, commentators often compare current players to those from the past including Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Meadowlark Lemon. Lemon toured for more than two decades with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. He played in more than 16,000 lifetime career basketball games and helped changed the face of American history, Black history, and sports history. We talked with Lemons in 2015 about his famous hook shot, how visions have transformed his life, and how he became a Christian.
Lemon opens up how visions have played into his success including his famous hook shot.
“Visions have been instrumental throughout my life. I truly believe that I would never have become the success I’ve become were it not for my visions. I’m not saying that I can gaze into a crystal ball and predict the winner of next year’s Super Bowl. However, I am someone who firmly believes that if I can visualize doing something before it actually happens, my chances of achieving the goal are even greater…I used this same approach when I played basketball. The records will show that toward the end of my career I made the so-called ‘impossible shot’ [hook-shot] more than 70 percent of the time. Before I took the shot, even while facing away from the net, I would actually visualize the ball leaving my hand and going through the hoop…That same approach applies to other areas of life. True visions have transformed my time on this earth from mere existence to joyful living. As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it. A worthwhile life begins with a bold vision.”
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18
Lemon reflects on how he became a Christian.
“I love sharing the story about meeting the man who changed my life-His name is Jesus Christ. In 1982, a friend of mine told me I needed Jesus Christ in my life. He led me in a simple prayer asking Jesus into my heart. After saying the prayer, I wish I could say my life changed completely in the next instant, but there were no flashing lights and sirens as I would have expected. I was sincere when I prayed. I really did want the Lord’s presence in my life. In the coming weeks and months my faith grew. I realized that God had cleaned me up on the inside and my desires had changed. I wanted to know more about the Lord and His Word and I wanted to learn anything I could about having a closer relationship with the Lord. In less than a year, I began sharing my testimony about the prayer that led me to the Man [Jesus Christ] who changed my life. As I began to realize who I was and whose I was, I saw that God had known me even when I didn’t know Him. God had been with me all the time. I read in the Bible that God gives us the desires of our hearts.”
Have vision. You don’t have to look into a crystal ball. Take time this week and pray and ask God what His vision for your life is. Write down the things that he shares with you. God often speaks to us through His word, the Bible, the Holy Spirit and sometimes even through other people. As He reveals things to you, be obedient and trust Him. Don’t lean on your own understanding of the situation or even your own skill set. Remember that God used unqualified people throughout the Bible to accomplish His purposes.
Take the shot and share your faith. Whether it is a friend, teammate or family member, God wants us to share our faith with those around us. Pray and ask Him to guide you who to share with and to give you the words to say. God is also working on the heart of that person as well through the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t worry if the person doesn’t accept Christ right away. Listen to the questions or hesitations they might have about becoming a Christian and see if you can answer them. If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. Let them know that you don’t know the answer, but that you will help them find it by connecting them with someone at church.
Finish strong. Each of us has been entrusted with time, talent and treasure. We may not be professional athletes, rocket scientists or millionaires, but we each have a responsibility to use the things God has given us to help others and glorify God. Take time this week to reflect on how you are using the things that have been entrusted to you. Ask a friend, small group leader or pastor if they see talents or gifts in you that you may not be using. Often times, those close to us can identify things in us that we might see ourselves. They can also encourage you in ways to use those gifts and talents. Sometimes it is helpful to take a spiritual gifts assessment.
To read our entire interview with Meadowlark Lemon, click here.