WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - One of the most prominent blocks in downtown Wilmington now bears the name of one of the Port City’s most prominent former residents.
The Wilmington Commission on African-American History and city council officially dedicated the Third Street bridge between Hanover and Campbell streets as the Meadowlark Lemon memorial bridge.
Lemon grew up just blocks away from the bridge in a housing development known as Taylor Homes. The Williston High School graduate went on to become the most famous of the Harlem Globetrotters. Known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball,” Lemon played in over 16,000 games for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Wilmington City Council voted in 2017 to name the Wilmington bridge after the basketball legend. The city had to get approval from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to officially rename the bridge. That was a two-year process. City Clerk Penelope Spicer-Sidbury says the bridge will eventually have red, white and blue lights — the team colors of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Lemon was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and passed away in 2015. His widow, Dr. Cynthia Lemon, attended Wednesday’s ceremony on his behalf, along with two current Globetrotters, Flip White and Hi-Lite Bruton, and other prominent members of the community.
After the ceremony, White and Bruton attended an anti-bullying “T.E.A.M. Up” program at the Community Boys & Girls Club, where Lemon and eventually Michael Jordan learned the game.