Tries Out For Globetrotters
Before leaving for basic training, Lemon returned to Wilmington and learned that the Globetrotters were coming to nearby Raleigh, North Carolina. He'd never seen them in person. Because the game was sold out, Lemon had his high school coach call Globetrotter promoter Abe Saperstein to get tickets. Coach Corbin and Saperstein were acquaintances.
Saperstein invited Lemon to the game. Because Saperstein wasn't able to attend the game, he told Globetrotter Marques Haynes to meet with Lemon and look him over. Just as the game was about to begin, Haynes tossed Lemon a uniform and told him to suit up because there wouldn't be time for a tryout later.
Lemon recalled the moment in his autobiography, "Just getting to see the Trotters would have been more than enough. I'd have paid. To meet Marques Haynes, that was bonus.… To wear a uniform stunned me. To play, unreal. I thought I was going to throw up."
Stunned, Lemon drifted around the court in a haze. He finally came to his senses, realizing he had to make the most of this opportunity. Lemon stepped up his game and soon, he was faking out the other team, driving toward the basket, and showing off with his reverse lay-up. The applause energized Lemon, and he pulled off an impressive performance.
Lemon was on a high when he shipped off to basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He spent two years in the military (1952-54), stationed in Salzburg, Austria. There, he sharpened his game while playing on an army base team, averaging 55 points per game. Combined, his teammates averaged just 13.
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