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Names In The Game

September 23, 1995

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) _ Meadowlark Lemon, once the funny man of the Harlem Globetrotters, now travels the country to spread the word of God.

After retiring from the Globetrotters in 1979, Lemon said, he was ``called to the ministry.

``Some people get called and don’t answer. I guess I was just too scared not to,″ said Lemon, now a full-time ordained minister and evangelist. ``This is where God wants me to be. I now have the best job in the world.″

Lemon’s ministry travels across the nation, preaching to young people, churches, prisons and those who request its presence, he said. The ministry also raises money for different organizations to help the needy.

Lemon and the Meadowlark Ministries preached at various churches in north central Indiana this week, concluding at the House of Faith in Mexico on Saturday night.

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ Tyrone Hill of the Cleveland Cavaliers has offered to donate between $30,000 and $40,000 to save sports programs at his old high school.

Hill made the pledge Friday in a telephone call to Withrow High School basketball coach George Jackson.

``I felt bad when I read that coach Jackson was collecting for parking at home football games to raise money,″ said Hill, who graduated from the Cincinnati school in 1986. ``I told George I would give him any amount he needed. I’ll make out the check to anyone he tells me and send it right now.″

If Hill donates at least $40,000, all varsity sports at Withrow will be restored for the rest of the year, principal Patricia Rice said.

Withrow had enough money for fall sports. But it needs $52,000 to fund winter and spring sports _ boys and girls basketball, baseball, track, cross country and tennis _ at the varsity level. Rice estimates Withrow has raised $12,000.

Many Cincinnati public schools face the elimination of sports if two operating levies fail in the Nov. 7 election.

Hill has been with the Cavaliers for three years. He played at Xavier of Ohio before being selected 11th in the first round of the 1990 NBA draft.

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LEWISTON, Maine (AP) _ Muhammad Ali returned Friday to the site of one of his most famous and controversial victories to join in this central Maine city’s bicentennial celebration.

Ali drew cheers from about 200 people attending a bicentennial banquet prior to appearing at ringside during a six-bout boxing show at the Central Maine Civic Center.

The arena, then known as the Central Maine Youth Center, was the setting for Ali’s first-round knockout of Sonny Liston in a heavyweight championship fight on May 25, 1965.

In the first defense of the title he wrested from Liston 15 months earlier, Ali ended the bout with a right that skeptics labeled the ``phantom punch.″

Although his speech has been slowed by Parkinson’s syndrome, Ali demonstrated that he has not lost his sense of humor.

After receiving a gold pen as a gift from Lewiston Mayor John Jenkins, the 53-year-old former champ quipped, ``I come all the way to Maine, and this is all I get?″

Besides the so-called ``phantom punch,″ Ali’s title defense against Liston is remembered for referee Jersey Joe Walcott’s mishandled count and singer Robert Goulet’s mangling of the words of the national anthem.